These are songs of Tagore centred around autumn, a season that is split into two parts in Bengal. Early autumn is called Sarat and late autumn Hemonto. The first two songs are descriptive of Sarat and the last one of Hemonto.
SAY WHAT YOU WILL (Tomra Ja Bolo tai bolo, written in 1921) Say what you all will, I don’t mind My time flies, and hours pass, aimlessly The wild wind stirs me to a song And spreads its tune across this deep-blue sky. That song has stuck in my mind. What nectar do I seek in the humming of bees? Whose sky-pervading gaze seeks me out And settles on my sight thus this day?
THE HEART WAS AWAKE (Hridoye Chheele Jege, written in 1921) You were wide awake in my heart But I see you in autumnal clouds this day! How was it you stole so quietly away at dawn, Letting only your dress’s borders caress the dew? What song is it that I should sing? I simply can’t find words for it now! They lie scattered with shiuli flowers under forest canopies They’ve flown away with the gusting winds in sudden showers. *** Shiuli-Jasmine
AUTUMNAL NIGHTS (Himer Raate, 1927) On such cool autumnal nights Hemonto hides heaven’s lamps with its cloak. To every house it gives this call, “Light festive lamps, make bright the night, Shine your own lights, illuminate the world.” Gardens are flowerless now; cuckoos sing no more; Kash reed flowers keep falling by riverbanks, But let go of darkness, despair and misery; light festive lamps-- Shine your own lights and proclaim the triumph of light The gods look on — sons and daughters of earth, arise, Illuminating the night, Darkness may descend and day end but light festive lamps, Shine your own light and triumph over this dark night *** Hemonto-Late autumn Kash-Long grass
Below is a Youtube upload of Autumnal night or Himer Raate sung by the legendary singer Debabrata Biswas (1911-1980)
Fakrul Alam is an academic, translator and writer from Bangladesh. He has translated works of Jibonananda Das and Rabindranath Tagore into English and is the recipient of Bangla Academy Literary Award (2012) for translation and SAARC Literary Award (2012).
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