Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.
Kalidasa (active late 4th-early 5th century) was classical India’s master poet and dramatist. He demonstrated the expressive and suggestive heights of which the Sanskrit language is capable and revealed the very essence of an entire civilization. To read more about this poet, and its fascinating reading, go here
I have always loved this poem. It has such profound good advice within its lines. The interesting thing to me is that we all know these things but it takes a poet/seer such as this man was to lay them before us.
What is also of interest is that it has been well translated. The choice of words and the rhythm add to its allure. But it was written in Sanskrit. I haven’t been able to find out who translated it but I am trusting that it was someone who was a great scholar of Sanskrit. I truly admire the great translators for they must have such a deep seated sense of language and its meaning and rhythm, one that goes so far beyond the dictionary. They must indeed be poets themselves when it comes to translating great literature but then how do they not succumb to the temptation of perhaps adding to the meaning?
I have been meaning to post this poem for a long time and was reminded of it when reading a friend’s book the other day and saw it quoted. Whether you have come across it before or not, I wish you joy in reading it on this day.