I woke up with a vague line stuck in my mind, something about "we shall part" and "laughter in the sun". Couldn't remember if it's from a poem or a song, or a mere concoction of some pop culture leftovers as a result of troubled sleep. It didn't seem like a particularly good line, but it had been bugging me, and I chased it in silence through my dim memories all day. Then finally it dawned on me late in the afternoon, when I was sitting on the bench downstairs by the Hudson River having a cigarette. It's a peculiar day for deep December -- windy and moist, and all day heavy clouds full of rain move patches of sunlight across the river into the city grids. It's a day alternating between deepening threats of rain and scattered promises of sunlight. But the temperature is above 60F, with incessant wind that's almost warm. Between puffs of smoke and thin white breath the line came to me again, and as I squinted my eyes at the clouds afar, it suddenly dawned on me that it might be a line by Tagore.
Some minimal efforts of googling and Vola, Stanza No.14 of “The Fugitive and Others” :
I am glad you will not wait for me with that lingering pity in your look.
It is only the spell of the night and my farewell words, startled at their own tune of despair, which bring these tears to my eyes. But day will dawn, my eyes will dry and my heart; and there will be no time for weeping.
Who says it is hard to forget?
The mercy of death works at life's core, bringing it respite from its own foolish persistence.
The stormy sea is lulled at last in its rocking cradle; the forest fire falls to sleep on its bed of ashes.
You and I shall part, and the cleavage will be hidden under living grass and flowers that laugh in the sun.
Then the memories that had been evading me all day came rushing back in a flood. Must have been over 20 years. The word “cleavage” sounded strange to me then, and it sounds even stranger now, with the added adulthood knowledge of the apparent reference. Otherwise the lines still flow through me beautifully; but more like brook stream flows across the surface of a weathered pebble, making it cool and smooth – the short passage gives me aesthetic pleasure but probably nothing more. It feels a life time apart how it shocked me to the core, gave me shivers and goose bumps when I was maybe 14 going on 15. It amazes me a little what a melancholy child I had been, fantasizing about farewells before ever meeting someone for real. Small wonder I didn’t turn gay after prolonged indulgence in these passages which make repeated references to jasmine, mongo tree, and moonlight. I read through the rest of his collection with the same conceit, maybe to cover up the embarrassment a little. But then my bashfulness gave in, when I came across lines like these:
I feel thy gaze upon my heart this moment like the sunny silence of the morning upon the lonely field whose harvest is over.
I am the autumn cloud, empty of rain, see my fullness in the field of ripened rice.
I pondered for a while how full of love I must have been in those innocent hours of reveries. Isn’t it true that when one is most capable of unbashful love, there is usually no one available on the receiving end? Or even if there is, she is but a media of the idea of being in love, rather than the object of love herself. When I read these passages in youth I probably dreamt about being older and able to love without inhibition, when I’m significantly older I read these passages again and lament over the time of being able to fantasize without inhibition.