Gitanjali : A Study in Lyrical Patterns
(Syntax,Diction and Rhythm)
Kusum, SCD Govt. College, Ludhiana
• Gitanjali literally means a heap of flowers
offered in the cupped hands. The flowers
are not of one kind; they are different
gardens. Some are from the garden of
love, some from the garden of light;
others from the garden of time, yet still
others from the garden of death.
Tagore’s Musical Patterns
-Devotional Poetry/ Cosmic Rhythm
Chaitanya -Bengali Devotional Movement
- Rasa, Dhvani, Vakrokti(appropriateness)
(Lyricism and Prose Poetry)
-Dialogue Form – Music and Rhythm
(Conversational Poetic modes)
Tradition and Lyricism
• Gitanjali :
- Essence of centuries of meditation and
• Quest Motif:
-Longing for the divine
-A devotional poet sings his way to God
• One outstanding piece from Gitanjali
-'On the Seashore'
Yeats singled out this poem to conclude his
laudatory introduction to Gitanjali.
- in broad terms, the poem is perfectly
symmetrical in its thematic structure.
- The center line of the third paragraph anchors
• This sentence reads:
• "Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants
sail in their ships, while children gather
pebbles and scatter them again."
-This sentence stands on its own in the
poem. No other sentence mentions the
pearl fishers or merchants.
- However, every other sentence in the
poem has a complementary sentence
within its respective paragraph.
• Continuing the example of the third paragraph
starts with sentence:
• "They know not how to swim, they know not
how to cast nets."
Compare this with the last sentence of the
third paragraph: "They seek not for hidden
treasures, they know not how to cast nets."
The first half of each unit mimics the style of
the other, while the second half of each
phrase is identical: "they know not how to
Moving from the center of the poem outward to
paragraphs two and four are also symmetrical.
Once again, the first and third sentences of each
paragraph mirror each other in some way.
In the second paragraph, the idea of playing on the
sand is repeated in both the first and third sentence.
In the fourth paragraph, the phrase "pale gleams the smile of
the sea beach" is repeated in the first and third sentences. So
is the motion of the sea. In the first sentence, the "sea surges."
In the third sentence, the "sea plays." This symmetrical pattern
continues in paragraphs one and five.
The language used by the poet is the
language of emotion, rhythm, lyrical
intensity charged with instinctive
“LIFE of my life, I shall ever try to
keep my body pure, knowing that thy
living touch is upon all my limbs
Poet is deeply aware of the importance
of liquid consonants /L/M/N
• MY Desires are many and my cry is
Pitiful, but ever didst thou save me by
hard refusals; and this strong mercy
has been wrought into my life through
• organization of words • Choice of words to fit
in sentences: the their Context
ordering of and
relationship between the
words and other
structural elements in
sentences. The syntax
may be of a whole
language, a single phrase
or sentence, or of an
Diction,Rhythm, Pitch and Tone
LIGHT, my light, the world filling light,
the eye kissing light, heart sweetening
Ah, the light dances, my darling, at
the centre of my life ; the light strikes,
my darling, the chords of my love; the
sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter
passes over the earth. ( song 57)
Diction,Rhythm, Syntax and Tone
PLUCK this little flower and take it,
delay not! I fear lest it droop an
Drop into the dust.
It may not find a place in thy gar-l
and, but honour it with a touch of
pain from thy hand and pluck it. I
fear lest the day end before I am
aware, and the time of offering go by.
Though its colour be not deep and
Its smell be faint, use this flower in
Thy service and pluck it while there
is time. ( song 6)
The poet describes in a rhythmic rush the
quick passage of time seasons change, all
things rush on, no power can hold. Life
All things rush on, they stop not, they look
not behind, no power can hold them back,
they rush on.
• To move towards the conclusion, Tagore is
simply magnificent .The link he tries to raise
with the divine through his impenetrable but at
the same time fathomable artistic creation, is
fabulous. The internal involuntary willingness to
glue the supremely enormous in the pages of his
immortal creation, with fastidious stress on
language, diction and rhythm, has captivated
many a hearts and bowled over many minds.