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The Monday Poem > Clouds and waves by Rabindranath Tagore

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message 1: by Diane S ☔ (last edited May 14, 2018 12:04PM) (new)

Diane S ☔ Mother, the folk who live up in the clouds call out to me-
"We play from the time we wake till the day ends.
We play with the golden dawn, we play with the silver moon."
I ask, "But how am I to get up to you ?"
They answer, "Come to the edge of the earth, lift up your
hands to the sky, and you will be taken up into the clouds."
"My mother is waiting for me at home, "I say, "How can I leave
her and come?"
Then they smile and float away.
But I know a nicer game than that, mother.
I shall be the cloud and you the moon.
I shall cover you with both my hands, and our house-top will
be the blue sky.
The folk who live in the waves call out to me-
"We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know
not where we pass."
I ask, "But how am I to join you?"
They tell me, "Come to the edge of the shore and stand with
your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves."
I say, "My mother always wants me at home in the everything-
how can I leave her and go?"
They smile, dance and pass by.
But I know a better game than that.
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
laughter.
And no one in the world will know where we both are.


message 2: by Diane S ☔ (last edited May 14, 2018 12:12PM) (new)

Diane S ☔ Wiki entry https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabin...

I meant to post this yesterday. Thought it was a wonderful poem to celebrate Mothers Day.


message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Nice choice for Mother's Day Diane!


message 4: by Lalitha (new)

Lalitha (falcon_) | 30 comments This is beautiful, even in English! Most of the songs or poems he wrote were in his native tongue Bengali.


message 5: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 1030 comments Quite lovely. It captures the tenderness between mother and child. Thanks for posting it.


message 6: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12315 comments Mod
Lovely poems, thanks for posting them, Diane. I hope it's ok, but I noticed this poem was published twice, so I went ahead and deleted the other thread as it had fewer views and comments.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a really beautiful poem, I particularly like the idea of the clouds playing and dancing across the sky.

However... I'm confused. Who is the narrator?

My first thought (and I'm probably being morbid here) is that the clouds and waves calling to a person symbolises somebody dying (stepping off the earth to the clouds or into the waves). This doesn't make sense really with it being a child speaking to a mother. There feels a sadness to me in the poem that I can't really explain.

I am also slightly confused by the last few lines

"I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
laughter.
And no one in the world will know where we both are"

Why will no one in the world know where they are?

Interestingly, looking at the linked wikipedia article, the poet lost his mother at a young age and was brought up mainly by servants.

I love the writing in the poem but can anybody help me with the interpretation!!


message 8: by Lalitha (new)

Lalitha (falcon_) | 30 comments Heather wrote: "This is a really beautiful poem, I particularly like the idea of the clouds playing and dancing across the sky.

However... I'm confused. Who is the narrator?

My first thought (and I'm probably ..."


Hi Heather, I interpreted the poem in this way:

The narrator is a child. The child feels all the warmth of love and affection in his/her mother's laps. The child is tempted by the clouds and the ocean calling out to him/her - the temptations are very enticing, but the child resists because the child is happiest with his/her mother. The child's imagination runs wild when he/she devises 'plans' to have the best of both worlds - becoming the cloud and reaching out to the moon (the mother) in one case and by becoming the waves and playing with the shores (the mother), thus enjoying both - frolicking and staying with the mother.

I see an infinite tenderness of a child in this poem. Nothing melancholic per se.

Coming to the last part, again, a child is selfish and wants all the attention of the mother to his/herself. The child wants to hide the mother so no one would know where they are.

I hope this helps although I am not completely sure if this is the right way to look at the poem. If others can chime in, it would be wonderful.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

That definitely makes sense and I understand the narrator more now. I like the idea of a child being enticed by waves and clouds.

I still read sadness in the poem though. Maybe that is a reflection of the author never having that mother/child relationship growing up. I also lost my mother young and I don’t have children so maybe that is why there is melancholy to me

Am I alone in being morbid and thinking of death rather than play?? Maybe I need to read more happy poetry


message 10: by Lalitha (new)

Lalitha (falcon_) | 30 comments Heather wrote: "That definitely makes sense and I understand the narrator more now. I like the idea of a child being enticed by waves and clouds.

I still read sadness in the poem though. Maybe that is a reflecti..."


I understand why the poem sounds morbid - words like "edge of the earth", "on and on we travel and know not where we pass" are indicative of sadness. I still think this is meant to be play in a child's mind.


message 11: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Thanks, Lalitha. Also felt like he and his mother could hide away, he could find the whole world in her lap and she would keep him safe.


message 12: by Darrick (last edited May 17, 2018 10:18PM) (new)

Darrick Williams | 34 comments This is a great poem I think is about a child love for their mother. Although the Clouds and waves offer is enticing to the child, the child can’t bear to leave his/her mother. So, because the child can’t bear to leave his/her mother, the child decides to play the enticing games with her.
I also found the fact that the Clouds and waves couldn’t give the child an answer to how s/he could possible leave their mother very powerful. It also feel as if it’s just the two of them.

I will like to say this also, the child was talking to his mother the whole time telling her what the Clouds and waves had offered. Maybe the child looked at the sadness upon the mothers face and said. “I shall play the games with you.”

I think Lalitha interpretation of the poem is good. And Heather spoke of sadness in the poem. This I can understand, because the first few verses can lead you to think of heaven.

This is a nice poem, thanks for the post Diane.


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