What I have repeatedly felt while reading poems by Rabindranath Tagore, is that he could express my exact feelings better than me. This is more true now, when I'm raising a child. There are many poems where he describes the parent-child relationship, both from the parent's viewpoint and the child's, and I have translated several of them in the past. This year, my annual translation is another such poem, where the poet defends the actions of his child.
Dear child, why do you have tears?
Who has said bad things to you
Please let me hear.
While writing, your hands and face
With some ink got soiled
Is that why they said, “A dirty child”?
Shame, is that fair?
The full moon is smeared with ink
Call him dirty, I dare!
Child, your faults are all they see.
I find anything you do
Makes them unhappy.
You go to play and come back
With clothes torn away
Is that why “Wretched boy!” they say?
Shame, how’s that true?
The dawn smiles through torn clouds,
Is he wretched too?
Don’t listen to what people say.
I find your infamy
You love sweets
That’s why all of them
Call you greedy and blame?
Shame, what to say.
All those who love you
Then what are they?