To Youth by Sarojini Naidu

Long have we dwelt together, thou and I; Together drunk of many an alien dawn, And plucked the fruit of many an alien sky. Ah, fickle friend, must I, who yesterday Dreamed forwards to long, undimmed ecstasy, Henceforward dream, because thou wilt not stay, Backward to transient pleasure and to thee? I give thee back […]

The Soul’s Prayer by Sarojini Naidu

“O Thou, who mad’st me of Thy breath, Speak, Master, and reveal to me Thine inmost laws of life and death. “Give me to drink each joy and pain Which Thine eternal hand can mete, For my insatiate soul can drain Earth’s utmost bitter, utmost sweet. “Spare me no bliss, no pang of strife, Withhold […]

The Illusion of Love by Sarojini Naidu

Only a transient spark Of flickering flame set in loam of clay – I care not …since you kindle all my dark With the immortal lustres of the day. And as all men deem, dearest, you may be Only a common shell Chance-winnowed by the sea-winds from the sea – The subtle murmurs of eternity. […]

The Bangle Sellers by Sarojini Naidu

Our shining loads to the temple fair… Who will buy these delicate, bright Rainbow-tinted circles of light? Lustrous tokens of radiant lives, For happy daughters and happy wives. Some are meet for a maiden’s wrist, Silver and blue as the mountain mist, Some are flushed like the buds that dream On the tranquil brow of […]

The Snake Charmer by Sarojini Naidu

In what moonlight-tangled meshes of perfume, Where the clustering keovas guard the squirrel’s slumber, Where the deep woods glimmer with the jasmine’s bloom? I’ll feed thee, O beloved, on milk and wild red honey, I’ll bear thee in a basket of rushes, green and white, To a palace-bower where golden-vested maidens Thread with mellow laughter […]

The Queen’s Rival by Sarojini Naidu

Around her countless treasures were spread; Her chamber walls were richly inlaid With agate, porphory, onyx and jade; The tissues that veiled her delicate breast, Glowed with the hues of a lapwing’s crest; But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed “O King, my heart is unsatisfied.” King Feroz bent from his ebony seat: […]

In The Bazaars of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu

Richly your wares are displayed. Turbans of crimson and silver, Tunics of purple brocade, Mirrors with panels of amber, Daggers with handles of jade. What do you weigh, O ye vendors? Saffron and lentil and rice. What do you grind, O ye maidens? Sandalwood, henna, and spice. What do you call , O ye pedlars? […]

Wandering Singers by Sarojini Naidu

Through echoing forest and echoing street, With lutes in our hands ever-singing we roam, All men are our kindred, the world is our home. Our lays are of cities whose lustre is shed, The laughter and beauty of women long dead; The sword of old battles, the crown of old kings, And happy and simple […]

Village Song by Sarojini Naidu

Would you cast your jewels all to the breezes blowing? Would you leave the mother who on golden grain has fed you? Would you grieve the lover who is riding forth to wed you? Mother mine, to the wild forest I am going, Where upon the champa boughs the champa buds are blowing; To the […]

Transcience by Sarojini Naidu

Dawn will not veil her spleandor for your grief, Nor spring deny their bright, appointed beauty To lotus blossom and ashoka leaf. Nay, do not pine, tho’ life be dark with trouble, Time will not pause or tarry on his way; To-day that seems so long, so strange, so bitter, Will soon be some forgotten […]

Suttee by Sarojini Naidu

Hath blown thee out with their sudden breath; Naught shall revive thy vanished spark . . . Love, must I dwell in the living dark? Tree of my life, Death’s cruel foot Hath crushed thee down to thy hidden root; Nought shall restore thy glory fled . . . Shall the blossom live when the […]

Street Cries by Sarojini Naidu

Rousing the world to labour’s various cry, To tend the flock, to bind the mellowing grain, From ardent toil to forge a little gain, And fasting men go forth on hurrying feet, Buy bread, buy bread, rings down the eager street. When the earth falters and the waters swoon With the implacable radiance of noon, […]

Song Of A Dream by Sarojini Naidu

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 […]

Past and Future by Sarojini Naidu

And so the past becomes a mountain-cell, Where lone, apart, old hermit-memories dwell In consecrated calm, forgotten yet Of the keen heart that hastens to forget Old longings in fulfilling new desires. And now the Soul stands in a vague, intense Expectancy and anguish of suspense, On the dim chamber-threshold . . . lo! he […]

Palanquin Bearers by Sarojini Naidu

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 […]

Ode to H.H. The Nizam Of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu

This lyric offering to your name, Who round your jewelled scepter bind The lilies of a poet’s fame; Beneath whose sway concordant dwell The peoples whom your laws embrace, In brotherhood of diverse creeds, And harmony of diverse race: The votaries of the Prophet’s faith, Of whom you are the crown and chief And they, […]

Nightfall In The City Of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu

Jewelled with embers of opal and peridote. See the white river that flashes and scintillates, Curved like a tusk from the mouth of the city-gates. Hark, from the minaret, how the muezzin’s call Floats like a battle-flag over the city wall. From trellised balconies, languid and luminous Faces gleam, veiled in a splendour voluminous. Leisurely […]

My Dead Dream by Sarojini Naidu

You died and I buried you deep under forests of snow. Why have you come hither? Who bade you awake from your sleep And track me beyond the cerulean foam of the deep? Would you tear from my lintels these sacred green garlands of leaves? Would you scare the white, nested, wild pigeons of joy […]

Life by Sarojini Naidu

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 […]

Leili by Sarojini Naidu

The fireflies light the soundless panther’s way To tangled paths where shy gazelles are straying, And parrot-plumes outshine the dying day. O soft! the lotus-buds upon the stream Are stirring like sweet maidens when they dream. A caste-mark on the azure brows of Heaven, The golden moon burns sacred, solemn, bright The winds are dancing […]

Indian Weavers by Sarojini Naidu

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 […]

Indian Love Song by Sarojini Naidu

LIKE a serpent to the calling voice of flutes, Glides my heart into thy fingers, O my Love! Where the night-wind, like a lover, leans above His jasmine-gardens and sirisha-bowers; And on ripe boughs of many-coloured fruits Bright parrots cluster like vermilion flowers. He Like the perfume in the petals of a rose, Hides thy […]

Indian Dancers by Sarojini Naidu

Drink deep of the hush of the hyacinth heavens that glimmer around them in fountains of light; O wild and entrancing the strain of keen music that cleaveth the stars like a wail of desire, And beautiful dancers with houri-like faces bewitch the voluptuous watches of night. The scents of red roses and sandalwood flutter […]

Indian Dancer by Sarojini Naidu

Drink deep of the hush of the hyacinth heavens that glimmer around them in fountains of light; O wild and entrancing the strain of keen music that cleaveth the stars like a wail of desire, And beautiful dancers with houri-like faces bewitch the voluptuous watches of night. The scents of red roses and sandalwood flutter […]

In The Forest by Sarojini Naidu

Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red, Here let us burn them in noon’s flaming torches of fire. We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let […]

In Salutation to the Eternal Peace by Sarojini Naidu

And all life’s ripening harvest-fields await The restless sickle of relentless fate. But I, sweet Soul, rejoice that I was born, When from the climbing terraces of corn I watch the golden orioles of Thy morn. What care I for the world’s desire and pride, Who know the silver wings that gleam and glide, The […]

In Praise Of Henna by Sarojini Naidu

Lira! liree! Lira! liree! Hasten, maidens, hasten away To gather the leaves of the henna-tree. Send your pitchers afloat on the tide, Gather the leaves ere the dawn be old, Grind them in mortars of amber and gold, The fresh green leaves of the henna-tree. A kokila called from a henna-spray: Lira! liree! Lira! liree! […]

Humayun To Zobeida (From the Urdu) by Sarojini Naidu

Your sweetness in the nightingale, your white- ness in the swan. You haunt my waking like a dream, my slumber like a moon, Pervade me like a musky scent, possess me like a tune. Yet, when I crave of you, my sweet, one tender moment’s grace, You cry, “I sit behind the veil, I cannot […]

Harvest Hymn by Sarojini Naidu

LORD of the lotus, lord of the harvest, Bright and munificent lord of the morn! Thine is the bounty that prospered our sowing, Thine is the bounty that nurtured our corn. We bring thee our songs and our garlands for tribute, The gold of our fields and the gold of our fruit; O giver of […]

Ecstasy by Sarojini Naidu

Mine eyes that are weary of bliss As of light that is poignant and strong O silence my lips with a kiss, My lips that are weary of song! Shelter my soul, O my love! My soul is bent low with the pain And the burden of love, like the grace Of a flower that […]

Damayante To Nala In The Hour Of Exile by Sarojini Naidu

My liege, my lover, whose imperial head Hath never bent in sorrow of defeat? Shalt thou be vanquished, whose imperial feet Have shattered armies and stamped empires dead? Who shall unking thee, husband of a queen? Wear thou thy majesty inviolate. Earth’s glories flee of human eyes unseen, Earth’s kingdoms fade to a remembered dream, […]

Cradle Song by Sarojini Naidu

O’er fields of rice, Athwart the lotus-stream, I bring for you, Aglint with dew A little lovely dream. Sweet, shut your eyes, The wild fire-fiies Dance through the fairy neem; From the poppy-bole For you I stole A little lovely dream. Dear eyes, good-night, In golden light The stars around you gleam; On you I […]

Coromandel Fishers by Sarojini Naidu

The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night. Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free, To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea! No longer delay, let us hasten away […]

Corn Grinders by Sarojini Naidu

While merry stars laugh in the sky? Alas! alas! my lord is dead! Ah, who will ease my bitter pain? He went to seek a millet-grain In the rich farmer’s granary shed; They caught him in a baited snare, And slew my lover unaware: Alas! alas! my lord is dead. O little deer, why dost […]

Autumn Song by Sarojini Naidu

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 […]

An Indian Love Song by Sarojini Naidu

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon of thy glory and grace, Withhold not, O love, from the night of my longing the joy of thy luminous face, Give me a spear of the scented keora guarding thy pinioned curls, Or a silken thread from the fringes that trouble the dream of thy […]

Alabaster by Sarojini Naidu

Is frail as a cassia-flower, is my heart, Carven with delicate dreams and wrought With many a subtle and exquisite thought. Therein I treasure the spice and scent Of rich and passionate memories blent Like odours of cinnamon, sandal and clove, Of song and sorrow and life and love. ————— The End And that’s the […]

A Rajput Love Song by Sarojini Naidu

O Love! were you a basil-wreath to twine among my tresses, A jewelled clasp of shining gold to bind around my sleeve, O Love! were you the keora’s soul that haunts my silken raiment, A bright, vermilion tassel in the girdles that I weave; O Love! were you the scented fan that lies upon my […]

A Love Song from the North by Sarojini Naidu

Wouldst thou recall to my heart, papeeha, Dreams of delight that are gone, When swift to my side came the feet of my lover With stars of the dusk and the dawn? I see the soft wings of the clouds on the river, And jewelled with raindrops the mango-leaves quiver, And tender boughs flower on […]