Beggarly Heart, Rabindranath Tagore: Summary & Analysis

"Beggarly Heart" by Rabindranath Tagore is a contemplative poem that addresses the complexities of the human heart and the various emotions and states it can experience. The poem presents the heart as a metaphorical entity that undergoes different phases and conditions. Tagore calls upon a higher power or divine force to intervene during times of hardship, darkness, and confusion, and to bring solace, clarity, and guidance.

"Beggarly Heart" by Rabindranath Tagore

When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides
shutting me out from beyond, come to me,
my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner,
break open the door, my king, and come with
the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust,
O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.

Summary

"Beggarly Heart" presents a series of heartfelt requests to a higher power or divine entity. The speaker seeks divine intervention during moments of emotional and mental struggle, darkness, and confusion. The poem calls for mercy, grace, peace, and clarity to overcome the challenges presented by the various states of the heart.

Critical Analysis

The poem addresses different emotional and mental states that the heart can experience, emphasizing the need for divine intervention and guidance.

The metaphor of the "heart" symbolizes the emotional core of the individual and the various conditions it can undergo, ranging from hardness to delusion.

The repeated plea "come upon me" and "come to me" conveys a sense of urgency and longing for the divine presence and support.

The poem highlights the contrast between internal turmoil and the desired states of mercy, grace, peace, and clarity.

The metaphors of "burst of song" and "light and thunder" suggest transformative and powerful experiences that can bring about positive change and revelation.

Themes

  • Divine Intervention: The poem explores the idea of seeking divine help and guidance during times of difficulty, confusion, and emotional turmoil.
  • Inner Struggle: The poem acknowledges the inner conflicts and states of the heart that can range from hardness and blindness to a desire for peace and clarity.
  • Transformation: The poem suggests that the divine presence can bring about transformative experiences, leading to positive changes in perception and understanding.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Longing: The poem conveys a sense of longing and yearning for the divine presence and its ability to bring comfort and clarity.
  • Hope: The repeated requests for divine intervention express a hopeful attitude toward the possibility of overcoming inner struggles.

Literary Devices

  • Metaphor: The heart is used as a metaphor to represent the emotional and mental states of the individual.
  • Imagery: The poem uses imagery such as "shower of mercy," "burst of song," "lord of silence," "ceremony of a king," and "light and thunder" to create vivid and evocative scenes.

Discussion Question

How does "Beggarly Heart" by Rabindranath Tagore address the complexities of the human heart and its various emotional and mental states? How does the poem emphasize the importance of seeking divine intervention and guidance during times of struggle, confusion, and desire?

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