by Rabindranath Tagore [excerpted]
On the day when death will knock at your door what will you give to him?
Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life—I will never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights, all the earnings and gleanings of my busy life will I place before him at the close of my days when death will knock at my door.
I know that the day will come when my sight of this world will be lost forever, and life will take its leave in silence, drawing the last curtain over my eyes.
Yet stars will watch at night, and morning rise as before, and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.
When I think of this end of my moments, the barrier of the moments breaks and I see by the light of death this world with its careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare is its meanest of lives.
Things that I longed for in vain and things that I got—let them pass. Let me but truly possess the things that I ever spurned and overlooked.
I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all and take my departure.
Here, I give back the keys to my house—and give up all claims. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbors for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.
At this time of parting, wish me good luck, my friends! The sky is flushed with the dawn and my path lies beautiful.
Ask not what I have with me to take there. I start on my journey with empty hands and an expectant heart.
I shall put on my wedding garland. Mine is not the red-brown dress of the traveler, and though there are dangers on the way I have no fear in my mind.
The evening star will come out when my voyage is done and the plaintive notes of the twilight melodies will be struck from God's highway.
When I go from hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.
I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus that expands on the ocean of light, and so I'm blessed—let this be my parting word.
In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.
My whole body and my limbs have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch; and if the end comes here, let it come—let this be my parting word.