Rabindranath Tagore is an Indian poet whose verses won the hearts of the western world. He was the first who accomplished that and he even won a Nobel Prize for literature. His talent and word beauty were translated to many of his other prosaic works and one of them is "The Gardener".
This is a song filled with ideas of love and the unity between human and space. It is one of his best books and it’s even called the book of love. He doesn’t just write about the love towards a woman but the love towards the human being, Earth, world and life in general. The love towards a woman is the cause of his writing while the physical and emotional love are just one of the beautiful elements.
The verses discover that the poet is longing to show his love but he gives up on that intention because of the fear of being mocked. He is scared that his chosen one won’t respond back but he is also afraid to leave her because then he would come across as a coward. The reason for his fear is the difference between the subjects who represent the two of them. Their difference is emphasized in their opinions about freedom.
While the poets symbol craves liberty and all of its glory, his chosen one is afraid of it. She is used to the safety of her bird cage and the comfort of the well-known and she doesn’t recognize the beauty that the outer world has to offer.
In the poem the motive of the bird cage is a clear symbol of the walls that people build up in order to protect themselves from the unknown, not realizing that the true beauty of living is found outside their walls. The motive of freedom, next to the motive of love, is the most emphasized ones in the poem.
The poet uses two birds to set up an example of love towards life and love towards one another. The poem itself speaks of a love that’s impossible due to the different opinions about life that provokes different lifestyles. No outer factor influences the possibility of love because her impossibility is derived from the walls build up around the people.
In this poem, we can see how important the symbolic is for Tagore’s writing. It is the base of his verses, special lyrical expression and the moral of his works. All of these factors make him an undoubtedly a symbolist and him, even though he is Indian, is considered to be one of the main representatives of the European symbolism.
Genre: prose poetry
Theme: love for freedom
A free bird living a free life and singing freely in the hills invites a tamed bird to step out of her cage and come enjoy the life with her. She wants to fly, sing and enjoy everything that mother nature has to offer and invites her to live freely with him and fly across the wonders of nature.
The tamed bird was afraid of freedom because in her cage she had a pole on which she could sit and rest. She also had food and water and her place to sleep. The free bird listened to her and couldn’t believe that there was somebody in her kind that didn’t want to fly freely under the sky and the stars. She couldn’t dream of a life in captivity because it would be the death of her. She didn’t want to be drawn away from other birds because she wanted to be with them every morning and sing.
The tamed bird told her she didn’t know how to sing. She forgot how to do it because her life has come to the cage and she is also estranged from her ancestors. We can notice that the birds have the same wishes. The crave freedom, love and attention. They want to spend their free time with each other but it’s impossible because they live in different worlds. Their life habits and views aren’t the same.
The free bird comes for the tamed one to spend the rest of their lives together but the tamed bird can’t do that because she can’t fly wing to wing with the free bird. She can’t offer her what she wants. If they were in the same world she could respond back, but they way had to split. Maybe they would perfectly fulfill each other but faith decided to split them up.
We can notice how the author actually writes about people what live in their cages and ideals. About people who choose their ideals so they could live a comfortable life without bowing down to anybody. About people who actually stick to safety because they fear the life where the cards aren’t in their favor. But they can’t compare a free life that brings the pleasure of discovering something new that will amaze us to a life of limitations and ideals.
Money can’t buy what’s actually necessary to survive and that would be the sun, water, and a sky covered with stars. As death comes the material things won’t be significant. In the last heart beat, we won’t be counting our money but we will point our eyes to the sky, the sun and the stars. We should learn how to enjoy what the Earth has provided for us instead of always searching for something more because then we become depressed because of the illusions that will never come true.
The Earth has given us love, life but not eternity. The goats drink the Earth’s water, the kids play on her meadows, the sun shines upon every flower and gives life through his warmth but the eternity should be searched for in love because no man was made to walk the Earth forever.
But where does the friendship exist between a man and an animal when they don’t speak the same language. Where does the sympathy for animals come from and why does it make us want to keep them in cages where they don’t belong. The wings of the bird didn’t disappear but her voice did because she can’t sing with people but still she appreciates them for giving her a comfortable life in which her existence is safe and under any circumstances she has a safe home which she doesn’t have to leave to look for food nor shelter.
The free bird served the tamed bird for a long time. He made her a bed of flowers, whispered to her ear and kissed her softly until he burned with desire. But her voice was gone and the doors of her cage were open.
How will she fly under an open sky without him and will she find happiness and a companion. Maybe she will melt snows and sleep next to a river. He would have given her his heart but he didn’t want to leave his walls.
We shouldn’t run away from challenges and insecurity because if we always choose happiness we will never move forward in life. We should look for happiness with the people with whom we want to be and love.
The poem is allegorical and we should apply it to our own lives. The bird actually represents a man filled with love, desire and freedom while the tamed bird represents slavery that we voluntarily or involuntarily can’t escape from.
Gardener is a servant and a poet that wants to serve the woman he loves because that is what love is all about. Giving yourself away and being with your woman at all times. He wants to walk with her, talk to her, and touch her. He wants to express his love but he doesn’t dare to do so because he doesn’t want to be laughed out. He is afraid she won’t respond back, but he can’t leave her. Is there a bigger jail than weakness?
Rabindranath Tagore Biography
Rabindranath Tagore is an Indian poet and philosopher. He was born on May 7th, 1861 in Calcutta, India.
As an eight years old boy he started to write and when he was 16 he published his first book of poems which became a classic.
He was schooled in England where he even started his own school. He wrote in Bengal and in 1913 he was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize.
In 1883, he married Mrinalin Devi that died in 1902. He had 5 kids with her but two of them died young.
He wrote novels, short stories, plays, essays and he was involved with political and personal themes. His verses are filled with love and the unity between the humans and space.
He died on August 7th when he was 80 in Calcutta.