How to analyze R. Tagore's poetry? Where should I start from?
I'm looking for some help with analysing three poems from "Gitanjali" - "Ever In My Life", "I Boasted Among Men" and "In One Salutation to Thee". If by any chance someone could write a few critical words about these poems or maybe some keys, clues, aspects that I should pay more attention to, I would really appreciate that.
To analyse any poem, close reading of the text with a little bit of bio-critical perspective of the poet should be the general principle. There is nothing exceptional about Tagore's poems in this regard. Let me extend some clues with regard to the poems you have mentioned:
Ever in my life........
The poem is a characteristic Tagore statement of a spiritual search through songs--his journey from door to door, feeling himself and getting the feel of the big world. His songs taught him all his lessons, showing all the secret passages to see the horizon of his heart. Journeying through the domains of the contraries--Pleasure & Pain--he reached the palace gate of the Spiritual King at the end of the day.
I boasted among men........
This is yet another statement of knowing God and the meanings woven around the mystical knowledge. The poet was boastful of having known Him in all his works; but he failed to answer others' question regarding His identity. God only smiled at the discomfiture of the boastful poet. Again, the poet wrote the tales of God in his songs; but he was unable to explain the meanings of what he had written. God once again smiled at the poet's inability. The poem suggests the inadequacy of expression/explanation so far as knowledge and meaning of the Inexpressible is concerned
In one salutation to thee.........
This poem is a statement of humility & submission at the feet of God. The poem is admirable for three successive analogies that so aptly work out the theme. First, we have the image of a July rain-cloud with its load of 'unshed showers' bending on earth. Second, we have the image of many rivers submitting themselves into the sea. Third, we have the image of 'a flock of homesick cranes' flying for hours together to return to their mountain nests. All these visual images underline the theme of submission to God which is a veritable home-coming for the soul.