Show Yourself To My Soul

Overview

Out of Bengal and the Hindu spiritual tradition comes a Nobel prize-winning mystical poet whose time for broad, popular acceptance has come. William Butler Yeats fell in love with these poems almost a 100 years ago, the Nobel Committee honored them with their literature prize in 1913 and just recently The Utne Reader cited Tagore as one of today's most overlooked spiritual writers. This new edition is important because its lyrical translation has been made from Tagore's original Bengali and because it makes the ...
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Overview

Out of Bengal and the Hindu spiritual tradition comes a Nobel prize-winning mystical poet whose time for broad, popular acceptance has come. William Butler Yeats fell in love with these poems almost a 100 years ago, the Nobel Committee honored them with their literature prize in 1913 and just recently The Utne Reader cited Tagore as one of today's most overlooked spiritual writers. This new edition is important because its lyrical translation has been made from Tagore's original Bengali and because it makes the entire collection of 157 Gitanjali, or "song offerings" available to a wider audience for the first time. Rabindranath Tagore wrote with the insight and emotion that so characterizes Kahlil Gibran, with the mystical passion that has made Jalaluddin Rumi so popular and with a simplicity and depth that remains fresh and attractive to today's seekers.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Poet and pacifist Tagore (1861-1941) is the mostly forgotten winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (1913). Certainly, no one questions his worthiness, but outside of the Bengali-speaking world, he wins very few readers. This work is a new translation of his most famous and popular work, the Gitanjali, a collection of almost na ve prayers to God in poetic form. After many years of Rumi and Rilke, American readers may be ready for the sweet insights of the Bengal poet. For most collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893732551
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2002
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 288,832
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Come, show Yourself
to my soul
in ever-new ways.
Come in scents, come in hues,
come in songs.
Let my body thrill with joy
at Your touch.
Come into my mind
with nectar-laden joy.
Come to my eyes
so intent and longingly happy.
Come into my life
in ever-new ways.
Come:
pure, bright, pleasing.
Come:
beautiful, charming, peaceful.
Come, O come
in a wonderful arrangement.
Come in sorrow, come in joy,
come to my heart.
Daily come in all my activities:
Come when my work is done.
Come into my life
in ever-new ways.

What guest was it
who came to the door of my soul
this autumn day?
O my heart,
sing out a joy-song!
Let the blue sky's quiet sounds
let the dew-laden anxiety
find place today
on the strings of your lute.
Join in equal rhythm today
with the harvest's golden song.
Send your tune floating
on the full river's pure stream.
He has come!
Look at His face in deep happiness.
Come on!
Open the door
and go out with Him!

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Foreword

During the rediscovery and reassessment of Rabindranath Tagore that has unfolded in the English-speaking world over the last two decades, we have been slow to work round to Gitanjali. This may seem surprising, given that it was for the English book of that name that Tagore won the Nobel Prize. But with the English Gitanjali, and other books in that vein such as The Gardener and Fruit-Gathering, an image of Tagore became fixed that he himself came to regard as restricting; and Bengalis-and those who have learnt Bengali-have shared his frustration, have wished to show, through translation of a wide variety of poems, that Tagore was by no means exclusively a devotional, mystical or introspective poet.

Nevertheless, a true and complete presentation of Tagore ultimately has to give a special place to the trilogy of books that were named, in Bengali, Gitanjali, Gitimalya and Gitali. In these beautifully poised and subtle songs and lyric poems, we find Tagore at his most inward. They are his private, humble, lucid and sensitive dialogue with God-universal precisely because they are so personal.

Until recently, it has been hard for the non-Bengali reader to hear that dialogue, except through the filter of Tagore's own English versions, which often conceal as much as they reveal. But with Joe Winter's metrical translations of the Bengali Gitanjali (Writers Workshop, Calcutta, 1998, and Anvil Press Poetry, London, 2000), and now with the simpler, freer, unrhymed translations by James Talarovic that are offered here, we are given a new opportunity. In the case of Brother James's translations, I would say that the opportunity is also a unique privilege, for they are the fruit of long and deep reflection on the poems, over many years of living and working among the people of Bengal.

In my own reading of the typescript, I jotted down phrases such as "Make my heart blossom out . . ." "Take a light from the absence-fire . . ."

"I can endure still more blows . . ." "the monsoon's human face . . ." "There's nothing to be afraid of . . ." "Songs have taught me so much . . ."-and many more. I could list my favorite poems too; but maybe that choice should remain, as for other readers of this book, a private matter.

For me, Brother James's achievement is summed up in lines from the third poem in the book:
What was distant, Friend,
You brought near.
The stranger
You made my brother, my sister.
And what is the purpose of translation,
other than that?

WILLIAM RADICE
Northumberland
March 2002

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