Known as “the Nightingale of India,” Naidu was an Indian child prodigy who began writing poetry as a young girl. She went on to pursue politics and became the first Indian woman to serve as president of the Indian National Congress and the first female governor of Uttar Pradesh. She enjoyed a close relationship with Mohandas Gandhi, and her participation in passive disobedience campaigns landed her in jail on multiple occasions. What humorous nickname did she bestow upon Gandhi? More… Discuss
English: Gandhi in London with Sarojini Naidu at his side, Mahadev Desai behind her, and Mirabehn (Madeleine Slade) to the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is a selection of love poems from The Golden Threshold by Sarojini Naidu with an Introduction by Arthur Symons (John Lane Company, New York, 1916): “The Poet’s Love Song”, “Ecstasy”, “Autumn Song”, “An Indian Love Song”, “A Love Song From the North”, and “A Rajput Love Song”.
The Poet’s Love-Song
In noon-tide hours, O Love, secure and strong,
I need thee not; mad dreams are mine to bind
The world to my desire, and hold the wind
A voiceless captive to my conquering song.
I need thee not, I am content with these:
Keep silence in thy soul, beyond the seas!
But in the desolate hour of midnight, when
An ectasy of starry silence sleeps
And my soul hungers for thy voice, O then,
Love, like the magic of wild melodies,
Let thy soul answer mine across the seas.
Cover mine eyes, O my Love!
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 is smitten with rain:
O shelter my soul from thy face!
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?
More poems on the following pages…