Posted by: John Looker | 19 June, 2022

The Kindergarten of Rabindranath Tagore

I thought I would post some of the poems from my recent collection Shimmering Horizons, and here is the first. The theme of the book is the journey, the quest, the odyssey.

There are more extracts from Shimmering Horizons on a dedicated page of this blog: one poem from each of the seven parts of the book. The poem above is taken from Part III: Into that Silent Sea — a celebration of ten great historic or legendary travellers from every continent of the world. I’m posting one each week for ten weeks.

Shimmering Horizons was published in 2022 by Bennison Books and is available through Amazon at minimal price. In Britain it may be borrowed through public libraries from the National Poetry Library.


Responses

  1. So, like Buddha, he was not permitted to leave his sheltered world as a child?

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    • Yes that’s right. It was an extraordinarily restricted childhood.

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    • I wrote this poem to be the opening one in a suite of ten. They all feature historical or legendary travellers and they are disposed along the timeline of a journey: initial longing, setting out, point of no return, mid journey etc.

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  2. John – this is wondrous – although I did have to google Rabindranath Tagore! I’ve only heard the word “sempiternal” once before in a poem… The imagination transforms the peeping into wonder!

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    • Thanks a lot Bruce. So glad you enjoyed it, and you won’t have been the only one to wonder who Tagore was. Next weekend I will post the second in the series about the great mediaeval Arab explorer Ibn Battuta – I just mention this so you can do your homework! 😂
      I’m sorry about that ‘sempiternal’ though – its not a word that trips off my tongue daily but on this occasion I needed all those syllables! Apologies.

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      • Thanks John. The sempiternal thing… I THINK Cynthia used the word in her Francis poem – which is where I first ran into it. I rather like the word – and it’s one of those words that collects “baggage” as life goes on!

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        • She did. You’re right. That’s where I learnt it! It fitted her line beautifully.

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  3. This was a pleasantly surprising find. I’m from Calcutta, and have studied Tagore’s stories, poetry, and music extensively throughout my growing-up years. I have actually been to his childhood home – Jorasanko Thakurbari – a few times. It is now a museum and a most tranquil place in the heart of the bustling city. Thank you for dedicating this poem to the most iconic Bengali bard, who was also the first person outside Europe to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

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    • Thank you Cynthia. It is very good to hear from you and if we had become acquainted before the book was published I would have liked to consult you on this poem in draft. I wish I could say that I had also visited Jorasanko Thakubari. However, I drew on a memorandum Tagore had published about his childhood – a vivid source. There is a bust of Tagore in the garden of Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon; perhaps you know this; I rather like the compliment paid to the Nobel prize winner.

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      • Yes, I do know about Tagore’s bust at Shakespeare’s birthplace, and although I lived in England for some time, I never visited Stratford-upon-Avon. It gives me immense pride that Tagore has been recognised and celebrated around the world. I also read your most recent poem about Ibn Battuta, and it brought back distant memories from my history classes. I love history, and I will take my time reading all your poems on this blog. Thank you for sharing them with the world!

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  4. Well, thanks Cynthia. I hope you will also like the one I plan to post next Sunday. That aside, I followed the link to your own website which I see is in preparation. Do let me know when it goes live!

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  5. Months ago, after reading Shimmering Horizons, I planned to let you know how very, very much I had enjoyed it, but Life… and then my copy vanished… to my joy, I have just found it again. I shall read every word again, knowing that many of the poems will be renewed and sharpened (e.g. the heart-stopping Odyssea) by intervening world events. Thank you.

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    • Hello Hilary – it’s so good to hear from you and thank you for these generous remarks. I am deeply touched. Seeing your comment prompted me to look up your own blog again and I spent some time happily browsing there this morning. I hope you are well. I expect you are busy!

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