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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 07, Joint Issue 24 & 25: Jan-April 2022


Palanquin Bearers and Other Poems — Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu (née Chattopadhyay; 13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949) was a feminist, poet, and political activist from India. She played a significant role in India's fight for independence from colonial rule as a supporter of civil rights, women's emancipation, and anti-imperialist beliefs. She earned literary fame for her poetic works and is affectionately called as the "Nightingale of India."


1. Palanquin Bearers


Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,

She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;

She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,

She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.

Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.


Softly, O softly we bear her along,

She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;

She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,

She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.

Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.


2. Autumn Song


Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,

The sunset hangs on a cloud;

A golden storm of glittering sheaves,

Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,

The wild wind blows in a cloud.


Hark to a voice that is calling

To my heart in the voice of the wind:

My heart is weary and sad and alone,

For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,

And why should I stay behind?


3. Song of a Dream


ONCE in the dream of a night I stood

Lone in the light of a magical wood,

Soul-deep in visions that poppy-like sprang;

And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,

And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,

And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed

In that magical wood in the land of sleep.


Lone in the light of that magical grove,

I felt the stars of the spirits of Love

Gather and gleam round my delicate youth,

And I heard the song of the spirits of Truth;

To quench my longing I bent me low

By the streams of the spirits of Peace that flow

In that magical wood in the land of sleep.


4. Indian Weavers


WEAVERS, weaving at break of day,

Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .

Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,

We weave the robes of a new-born child.


Weavers, weaving at fall of night,

Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .

Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,

We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.


Weavers, weaving solemn and still,

What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .

White as a feather and white as a cloud,

We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.


5. Life


CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems

Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,

Or carnival of careless joys that leap

About your hearts like billows on the deep

In flames of amber and of amethyst.


Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist

Till some resistless hour shall rise and move

Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,

And thirst with passionate longing for the things

That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.


Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,

And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,

Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,

Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.



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