2.3 The Little River

Our little river, it meanders along;
In summer, the water is only knee-deep,
And cows and carts can cross it with ease,
For the banks, though high, are not too steep.

No sign of slime, the sands shine bright,
On one shore, kash fields blossom white.
Chirping mynahs through that site,
The jackal’s howl is heard there at night.

Across lie groves of mango and palm;
The village priests dwell in their cool shade,
Girls and boys bathe close to the bank,
Splashing with their gamchhas as they wade.

At dusk and dawn, once their bath is done,
They dip washcloths to trap small fish.
To their household tasks the wives return,
Having used river-sand to scour each dish.

In Ashadh, clouds gather, the waters rise;
The river’s in spate, the current grows strong.
The air is rife with babbling sounds,
As the muddy torrent swirls along.

The woods onshore stir to life again,
And our village wakens to celebrate the rain.

– Rabindranath Tagore