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Street Cries

Sarojini Naidu 1879 (Hyderabad) – 1949 (Lucknow)



WHEN dawn's first cymbals beat upon the sky,
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,
And in dim shelters koïls hush their notes,
And the faint, thirsting blood in languid throats
Craves liquid succour from the cruel heat,
Buy fruit, buy fruit, steals down the panting street.

When twilight twinkling o'er the gay bazaars,
Unfurls a sudden canopy of stars,
When lutes are strung and fragrant torches lit
On white roof-terraces where lovers sit
Drinking together of life's poignant sweet,
Buy flowers, buy flowers, floats down the singing street.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu, born as Sarojini Chattopadhyay also known by the sobriquet as The Nightingale of India, was a child prodigy, Indian independence activist and poet. Naidu served as the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh from 1947 to 1949; the first woman to become the governor of an Indian state. She was the second woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first Indian woman to do so. more…

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