What are the images used by Rabindranath Tagore in the poem 'I cannot remember my mother'?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One important image Rabindranath Tagore uses in the poem “I Cannot Remember My Mother” is the image of a tune.  The child remembers hearing a tune the mother hummed while rocking his/her cradle.  A second important image is the shiuli flowers, the official flower of West Bengal, India. The shiuli flower is also used to mark the arrival of the Goddess Durga.  The child thinks of his/her mother in the temple when he/she smells the shiuli flowers.  A third image is the sky and it reminds the child of his/her mother’s gaze.


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kmcappello eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The title of Rabindranath Tagore's poem, "I cannot remember my mother," is misleading, because he does remember her through the imagery he explores. In poetry, "imagery" refers to any appeal to the five senses, including smell and sound, which Tagore mentions here. In fact, the first memory is called up by the sound of a tune similar to the one she used to hum to him as a child. The second memory is triggered by the smell of "shiuli flowers," which remind him both of prayer service and his mother's scent. The third memory is an image of the clear blue sky, which Tagore compares to "the stillness of [his] mother's gaze."
anshbhargava | Student
Tagore has used auditory imagery in the first stanza,when he remembers his mother humming a tune . He uses olfactory imagery in the second stanza when he says that his mother used to wear shuili flowers which is the flower of West Bengal. In the third and final stanza, he uses visual imagery when he remembers his mothers gaze from the sky above.