The Vanished Flowers of a Hundred Years Before

Rabindranath Tagore: poet, novelist, musician, painter, playwright and Nobel Prize in Literature winner who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries




I just happened to read this excerpt from a Rabindranath Tagore poem called “The Gardener.” The brilliant Bengali writer wrote it in 1915, which is ninety-five years ago. In it, Tagore speaks to a future reader, one who will read the poem a hundred years after he wrote it. That would be me.















Who are you, reader, reading my poems a hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your doors and look abroad.
From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of a hundred years before.
In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.



I occasionally think of the people who lived a hundred years ago. Virtually everybody who was on the planet at the time has disappeared as if they had never been. The population of earth essentially turns over every hundred years. It’s fascinating and chilling to realize that everyone alive right now will be alive no more a hundred years after you read these words.

And yet, as Tagore did, we can reach out to our yet-to-be-born descendants, can greet them and wish them well. And so, if these words exist in cyberspace a century hence, may you, dear reader, feel in the joy of your heart the living joy that sings in my heart and calls to you across the years. May God bless you and guide you to build a better world for those who come after.







Click here to see all my posts featuring poets.






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2 Responses to “The Vanished Flowers of a Hundred Years Before”

  1. Ian Whitney Says:

    Thank you for reminding us of this beautiful poem….it is the reason to write, to create, to live passionately, believe passionately so that those in the future may have our thoughts and our ‘living joy’ to turn to….

    Beautiful…..

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Agreed. It’s a good reminder for us all, Ian.

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