Two Poems of Rabindranath Tagore Translated by Mitali Chakravarty


Against the monsoon Skies… from BhanusingherPadabali

(from Shaongaganeghorghanaghata, BhanusingherPadabali)


Against the monsoon skies, heavy clouds wrack the deep of night.

How will a helpless girl go through the thick groves,Ofriend,

Crazed winds sweep by the Yamuna, the clouds thunder loud.

The lightning strikes, the trees have fallen, the body trembles

In the heavy rain, the clouds shower a downpour.

Under the shaal, piyale, taal, tamal trees, the grove is lonely and quiet at night.

Where, friend, is he hiding in this treacherous grove

And enticing us with his wonderful flute calling out to Radha?

Put on a garland of pearls, a shithi* in my parting,

My odni* is flying as is my hair; tie a champak garland.


Don’t go in the deep of the night to the youth, O young girl.

You are scared of the loud clapping thunder, says Bhanu your humble server.


*shithi: Ornament worn in the parting of the hair.

*odni: A long stole or scarf



How Do you Sing O Divine One

(from Tagore’s Tumi kemon kore gaan koro he guni)


Mitali Chakravarty
How do you sing O Divine One,

I only listen to you in awe.

The tune is like the light that flashes through the world,

The tune is like the breeze that flows through the skies,

It thunders like a torrent ripping through rocks

Flowing creating a wondrous music.

I try to sing in that melody

And yet I cannot find that in my voice.

The lyrics hesitate to say what I want —

My life surrenders itself to you

You have trapped me      

In this web of melodies 

Bionote: Mitali Chakravarty is writer and the editor of Borderless Journal. She has been published in journals and anthologies. She translates from Bengali to English. She translated ‘The Full Circle’, a Partition story set in Noakhali, in Nabendu Ghosh’s That Bird Called Happiness and ‘Anchor’ by the same author in a collection called Mistress of Melodies, both edited by Ratnottama Sengupta and published by Speaking Tiger Books. She has translated him online as well as is translating another novella by Ghosh.


  1. Two beautiful transcreation. The soul and essence of the Bengali language, the Tagorean flavour, remains unchanged. Splendid work, Mitali

  2. Hi Mitali,

    Translations, particularly of famous verses, always remains a challenge.There is the danger of losing the essence and feel of the original. Apart from of course the intrinsic difficulty of getting the reader to wear Tagore's Bangla lens of seeing situations.

    Having said that,I dare say you have done a good job and I acknowledge you for that.


    Shakti Ghosal


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