Summary of “Paper Boats” by Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore is an outstanding poet of modern India. He was the first to popularise modem India in the world literary scene. Pri­marily he was a Bengali poet. But he was equally a master at writing in English. He translated many of his works into English. His poetry shows his deep humanism. His is a universal message of peace, love and joy. He transcends the barriers of space and time. So his poetry has a universal appeal.

'Paper Boats' is a nice poem of Tagore, taken from his collection, "The Crescent Moon." This poem is on a childhood experience. Like Wordsworth and Walter de la Mare, Tagore also found in children a mys­tic quality. The poem narrates the child's, experience of floating paper boats down the stream. The child imagines that some other child tries to compete with his boats by sending clouds down the air in the sky.

The poem shows the child's peculiar psychology.

The child loves the worlds of playfulness and fun. Day by day he floats paper boats down the running stream. He sends them with the intention that they would reach some distant lands. Out of curiosity he writes his name and address on those boats. He fondly hopes that some­where someone will find them and know him:-

“I hope that someone in some strange land will find

Them and know who I am."

The child has always a deep sense of love. He wishes to present the unknown friend with valuable gifts. So he loads his boats with flowers from his garden. He hopes that the boats will carry the flowers safely to the distant land in the night-

"and hope that these blooms of the dawn

will be carried safely to land in the night."

When the child looks up, he sees the white clouds sailing in the sky-

"See the little clouds setting their white bulging sails."

He imagines that he has a friend in the sky. He thinking that the other child sends white clouds down the air to compete with his boats-

‘I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends

Them down the air to race with my boats!"

At night he sees dreams in his sleep. He dreams about his paper boats. In the dream he is happy to know that angles are sailing in his boats.

Thus the poem shows Tagore's keen insight into the child's mind.