"In the heat of the midday sun
Burns the lonely afternoon with no people.
I sit staring at the empty seat
but there is no hint of solace.
Its heat overflows with pain,
Words of despair rise like a plaintive dirge.
It speaks of emptiness, its voice brimming with pity,
We do not know its essence.
Like the dog which has lost its master, gazes in bewildered sadness--
Barks incessantly with uncomprehending pain--
Does not know what happened, why it happened,
Searches all round, night and day, with defeated eyes.
The voice of the chair is desperate and pleading,
It defines the sorrows of emptiness
The dumb sadness of the loveless rooms. "
- Tagore's poem 'Sheshlekha'
(Translated by Dipak Mazumdar in 'A Poet's Death')
Tagore wrote this poem at his sickbed, only three months before his death in 1941. It speaks about his confusion and bewilderment at his own accomplishments at the ripe age of 80 years. The man started his creative career at the age of 8 and in the last 10 years of his life alone, made 2000 paintings and wrote over 2000 poems on top of his novels, novellas, short stories and essays. Still he felt unfulfilled and depressed. Where does that leave the rest of us?
I thought of my sister as I read this poem how I've lost her not through death but through circumstances. If this is how I feel at 30, what awaits at 80?