What is the message behind the poem "Wayfarer" by Rabindranath Tagore?

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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This Indian poet writes a lot about the search for God. So perhaps this poem describes this search - he looks again and again in the darkness, and he cannot sleep because of it.

I have no sleep tonight. Ever and again I open my door and look
out on the darkness, my friend!

Perhaps God is his only friend, and he hopes that God will come into his house from wandering around and about in the world

Oh my only friend, my best beloved, the gates are open
in my house–do not pass by like a dream.

 

The poem could also be an allegory about death. Perhaps the poet is depressed - the tone is very gloomy - and death is his only friend:

I can see nothing before me. I wonder where lies thy path!
By what dim shore of the ink-black river, by what far edge of the
frowning forest, through what mazy depth of gloom art thou
threading thy course to come to me, my friend?

Perhaps he seeks relief from his pain and gloom through death.

Thou art the solitary wayfarer in this deserted
street.

I have no sleep tonight. Ever and again I open my door and look
out on the darkness, my friend!

There is personification in the poem if you interpret the wayfarer to be something other than a human. Nature is also personified (Today the morning has closed its eyes) and there is dark imagery.

Now, you take a stab at it. The beauty of poetry is that "a poem does not mean but be."

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