“The Bangle Sellers” by Sarojini Naidu

Bangle sellers are we who bear
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 a woodland stream,
Some are aglow wth the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves

Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,
Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.

Some are purple and gold flecked grey
For she who has journeyed through life midway,
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband’s side.

I love the images used here for describing the colors and textures of the glass bangles being on sale in the temple fair.

“shining loads” ,“circles of light” ,”silver and blue as the mountain mist”, ”flushed like the buds that dream”, “Like fields of sunlit corn”, “like the flame of her marriage fire” , “Purple and gold-flecked”

Most of the imagery is visual. The only auditory image used is “tinkling” which comes into use only when the bangles are worn. Mountains and meadows and streams are invoked here because the glass sellers in a temple fair especially in Hyderabad (the home of Sarojini Naidu) are usually banjarins ,women from a nomadic tribe called “banjaras”.


17 thoughts on ““The Bangle Sellers” by Sarojini Naidu

  1. It is beautiful that some of the colours need not even be named, they can just be felt and found in her metaphors.
    Also, the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme has a very musical quality to it, sort of like the ting-ting of bangles against one another, no?


    1. You are right, Udita. The colors can actually be felt especially by associating the colors with one’s own experience of such bangles in a temple fair.The music of the lines evokes the tinkle of glass bangles on a woman’s hand so beautifully.Thanks for the comments.


  2. Find it beautiful. How colours have been created using simple everyday words. Colours that are made so real , as if we can touch them. The happiness and serenety of simple indian lives has also come out as a inner theme of the poem; so well trodden, so reassuring.


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