Rabindranath Tagore is an Indian poet who captivated the Western part of the world as well with the beauty of his lyrics, and became the first poet winning the Nobel prize for literature. His undeniable talent and remarkable beauty of his lyrics poured over to the rest of his opus, as the poem written in prose, “The Gardener”.
“The Gardener” is a song filled with the idea of love and unity of humanity with Universe. It was one of the best Tagore’s poetry books, also known as the book of love. In this verses, he’s not just talking about a love for a woman, he transfers his focus on the love in general, towards men, Earth, world, life. The love he feels for a woman is only a cause for him writing magical verses in which he glorifies life, while physical and emotional love is only one of its wonderful elements.
The lyrics reveal that the poet is obsessed by the lust because he is keen on showing the love, yet giving up on his intention, doubting he will get ridiculed. He is also afraid that his chosen one won’t return his feelings, but he is also afraid of leaving her because she could think of him as a coward.
The reason for his fear is the diversity between him and the one he loves, enhanced by their different attitudes towards the concept of freedom. As the poet lurks for freedom and all of her magic, his loved one is afraid of the freedom, as she is used to the safety of the bird cage, comfort of renowned, not recognising the beauty of the outer world.
The bird cage motif is a clear symbol of walls who people use for dividing themselves, fearing the unknown, and not realizing that the true beauty and joy of living is found out of those walls. Motif of freedom, standing beside the motif of love is the most expressive one used in this poem.
On the motives of two birds poet is talking about the love for life and the mutual love among the partners as well, although the poem itself carries the idea about impossible love.The love is becoming impossible because of the different attitudes about life, resulting as alternative lifestyles.
There is no outer factor for making this love impossible, she became that way from the impossibility of subjects to break their self-made walls around them.This poem shows the importance of symbols in Tagore’s poetry, who builds the beauty of his lyrics and uniqueness of expression using them as a substruction.
By presenting many of significant ideas he has been considered as the greatest representative of late European symbolism, although he was Indian by birth.
Genre: Prose poem
Main theme: The love for freedom
A free bird living in the mountains invites the caged bird to join her, so they could enjoy the beauties of life, freedom, and beauty together; flying, singing, eating and enjoying carried by their wings in the direction of natural’s beauty.But the caged bird is afraid of the freedom, enjoying the privileges of her bird cage- resting beam, warm environment, sleeping place and served food.
Free bird was shocked by her attitude, and couldn’t believe there is a bird unwilling to fly free under the sky. The free bird considered life on the bird cage as the worst prison, being estranged from the other birds and unable to sing and fly with them every morning.
The caged bird told her that she forgot how to sing because of her life spent in bird cage, and also was unattached from her ancestors. Although the both birds have the same need for love, freedom and care and they like spending time together, their attitudes and habits are very much different.
The free bird is decisive oh setting the caged one free so they could spend the rest of their lives together, but the caged bird isn’t allowed to do so, as she could only fly by the help of other bird’s wings. She is aware that she couldn’t provide her all that she needs, as a due for them being a part of different worlds and their paths were diverging.
They were condemned for their life choices and attitudes in general so the faith decided to break them apart.It is quite noticeable that the poet is actually writing about people locked in their cages and ideals within their own four wall. Those people choose their ideals as they could live an easy life, not obeying the others.
They stick with what is safe for them because of their fear of life’s uncertainty in which the cards of their wishes and hopes aren’t opened in front of them. But with gaining the freedom life gives us the opportunity to learn something better and more beautiful than we ever considered possible, and that is more worth than any type of life in the cage.
A luxurious lifestyle compared with the endless sky and sun means nothing. It shows us that with the money we can only buy objects, but not the life’s necessities as the sun, water, and a large sky filled with stars. As the death approaches the material things lose their value and at the moment of our last heartbeat we won’t be thinking about our properties, yet we will look at the sky, sun and stars.
So we must learn on how to enjoy what the world has given us, without asking for more because that will only bring us feeling sad and crushed by dematerialised hopes and dreams. The Earth provides us with love, feeding us with life, but not forever.
Sheep are drinking the water of the earth while children play at the meadows and sun shines brightly at every flower, providing the warmth and life for all the living creatures.Eternity should be sought in the things that are eternal and that is love because no man can walk forever on the paths of this world.
But where lays the friendship between a man and this tiny animal when they don’t speak the same language? Where does this affection of a man for this small beings, and how could that be as an the justification for holding them caged where they don’t belong? The traces of a little bird aren’t forgotten, she can still walk and fly pulingly, but her song disappeared because she can’t sing along with people.
But still, she respects the human because of him providing her the rich life in which her existence is taken care of. She has a safe home despite all weather conditions and doesn’t have to fly South just to provide for her food and a place for accommodating herself and her family.
A moment for her escape appeared one day when the cage door opened, so she could escape and join the free bird, who was visiting her daily but she changed her mind, scared of the challenges and insecurities. The main message of this poem is that we won’t be happy if we keep making choices based on our feeling of safety, happiness is to be found with the people we love and care about deeply.
This poem is an allegory, full of meanings and recipes for life. The bird actually presents a sensitive human, filled with love and freedom while the caged bird is a symbol of an enslaved man, who won’t or can’t escape it, relying himself on his safety he is not willing to lose.
The Gardiner – a servant, a poem willing to serve a woman he is madly in love with because that is the true purpose of love, giving your whole self without expecting anything in return. He wants to spend all of his time with her, but he is scared of showing her his true feelings as there is a risk for him to get ridiculed.
He is also afraid she doesn’t feel the same about him, yet he is unable of leaving her. Is there any the larger prison then self-made walls out of feeling powerless?
Rabindranath Tagore Biography
Rabindranath Tagore is an Indian poet and a philosopher, born in Calcutta on the May 7th, 1861. He started writing his poems when he was only eight years old, publishing his first book of poetry when he was sixteen. Those poems became literary classics.
He received his education in England where he graduated from college, and then founded his own school Vishva-Bharati. He wrote his work in Bengal, receiving a Nobel prize for literature in 1913, as a first non- European.
Tagore married Mrinalini Devi in 1883, but she dies in 1902. He was a father of five children, and two of them died at early age.Among poems, he was writing stories, tales, plays and essays as well, elaborating political and personal ideas.
Tagore’s lyrics are pervaded with the ideas of love and the unity of men and the Universe. He dies at 80-years old in his hometown Calcutta, August 7th, 1941.