In blue sky floats a multitude of clouds —
White, black, of many shades and thicknesses;
An orange sun, about to say farewell,
Touches the massed cloud-shapes with streaks of red.
The wind blows as it lists, a hurricane
Now carving shapes, now breaking them apart:
Fancies, colours, forms, inert creations —
A myriad scenes, though real, yet fantastic.
There light clouds spread, heaping up spun cotton;
See next a huge snake, then a strong lion;
Again, behold a couple locked in love.
All vanish, at last, in the vapoury sky.
Below, the sea sings a varied music,
But not grand, O India, nor ennobling:
Thy waters, widely praised, murmur serene
In soothing cadence, without a harsh roar.
– Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda composed this poem in Bengali during his return from his second trip to the West. At the time of writing it, he was probably crossing the eastern Mediterranean.