The Fair Was On

The fair was on before the temple.
It had rained from the early morning, and the day came to its end.
Brighter than all the gladness of the crowd
was the bright smile of a girl
who bought for a farthing a whistle of palm leaf.
The shrill joy of that whistle floated above all laughter and noise.

An endless throng of people came and jostled together.
The road was muddy, the river in flood, the field under water in ceaseless rain.
Greater than all the troubles of the crowd
was a little boy's trouble-
he had not a farthing to buy a painted stick.
His wistful eyes gazing at the shop
made this whole meeting of men so pitiful.

~ A poem by Rabindranath Tagore

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