Writing A Letter: Rabindranath Tagore

You gave me a gold fountain pen –
Suitable furniture for writing
A small desk
Of walnut wood
Stamped notepaper
Of different sizes.
Enamelled silver paper-cutting
Scissors and knives. Sealing wax, red ribbons.
A glass paperweight,
Red, blue and green pencils.
You must write me letters, you told me,
On alternate days.

I’ve sat down to write a letter
I’ve bathed already
But I cannot think of anything to write about.
There’s only one piece of news –
You’ve left.
Which you know too.
But still it feels as though
You don’t know it well enough.
So I think I will let you know that
You’ve left.
Every time I start writing
It becomes obvious that this news isn’t so simple.
I’m no poet;
I cannot lend voice to words,
Nor can I picture them
The more I write, the more paper I rip.

It’s past ten.
Your nephew Boku must go to school,
Let me give him his meal.
For the last time let me write
You’ve left.
Everything else
Is just scribbles and doodles on the blotter.

[Original poem: Patralekha]

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