Taal Gachh, The Palm Tree, Tagore’s Poem

Taal Gaachh, this is the first Rabindranath Tagore’s poem that I had learned by heart as a child. When I heard the poem for the first time, I was struck by the imagination that: even trees have feelings! The palm tree, which is considered as the tallest tree wants to fly higher like the clouds. The tree imagines its big round leaves to be its wings. In the end however it is content to be with land which it considers to be its mother!

 The essence is so sweet; words are simple and have a beautiful lyrical flow. Each of us must have felt the urge to fly in the sky at some point in our lives. So does trees that stand at just one point for their whole life! When I toured Shantiniketan, I least expected to see the palm tree that inspired Tagore to write the poem. The guide pointed out this tree to us. (Though I found it hard to believe it is 100 years old and I controlled my urge to calculate the years with the guide.) It seemed to be well taken care with a small hut around it. 

Shantiniketan is full of such spots which inspired Tagore to write different poems. I don’t have the courage or capability to translate Tagore’s poem, but I tried to give the word meanings of each line. Please pardon me for the faults and I hope you will be able to connect.

(The poem)                                     / word meaning

Taal gach ek paye dariye                /  on one leg stands the palm tree
Sob gach chariye                           /  overshooting all trees
Uki mare aakashe                          /  peeping over the sky

Mone sadh kalo megh fure jaye     /  wishing in mind… to float like black clouds,
Ekebare ure jaye –                        /   and keep flying
Kotha pabe pakha se                   /  where will it(tree) get the wings

Taito se thik taar mathate               /  that is why it (right on its head)
 Gol gol pata te                             /   on round round leaves
 Ichhati mele taar                          /    spreads its desire

 Mone mone bhabe bujhi dane ei    /  In its mind it thinks, these are its wings
 Ude jete mana nei                        /  nothing can stop it from flying
 Bashakhani phele taar                  /  leaving its home behind

Saradin jhor-jhor …tho-thor….      /  whole day (sounds of quivering of leaves)
kanpe pata pottor…                       /  the leaves shiver
 ure jano jabe o                              /  as if it will fly away

Mone mone akashete beriye…       / imagining in its mind its flight in the sky
tarader eriye                                   / crossing over the stars
jeno kotha jabe o…                       / with intentions of arriving somewhere

Tarpore hawa jei neme jay…          / then as soon as the wind stops blowing
pata kanpa theme jay…                  / leaves stop shivering
phere tar monti                                / and flight of mind returns to land

Jei bhabe Ma je hoy mati tar…        / just as this land is its mother
bhalo lage aarbar…                         /  loves the surroundings
prithibir konti…                               / in this corner of earth

For those of you who can read Bengali, here is the poem in its original form.

SkyWatch Friday

Doodling by Rabindranath Tagore
Shantiniketan, Tagore's Karmabhoomi

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