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Sarojini Naidu as a Poet

Sarojini Naidu as a Poet

Characteristic of the Poetry of Sarojini Naidu

“Sarojini Naidu has qualities which make her best work exquisite, unique and unchallengeable in is kind” (Sri Aurobindo).”


Sarojini Naidu is one of the most significant Indo-Anglian poets of pre-independence period. A great poet in her own right, she became still more great as a political figure. Unfortunately her poetic production during the last fifty years of her life was insignificant. It was partly because she put herself. Heart and soul, in the freedom movement of India. Responding to the call of Mahatma Gandhi. So the loss of poetry was the grain of politics.

Sarojini’s Early Poetry

Very early in life, Sarojini Naidu began to dabble in poetry. About her early ventures in the realm of poetry she herself said: “I don’t think that I had any special hankering to write poetry as a little child, though I was of a very fanciful and dreamy nature…one day when I was eleven, I was sighing over a sum of algebra it wouldn’t come right but instead a whole poem came to me suddenly. I wrote it down … At thirteen I wrote a long poem as lady of the lake -1,300 lines in six days. At thirteen I also wrote a drama of 2,000 lines…I wrote a novel a , I wrote fat volumes of journals I took myself very seriously in those days.

Contacts with Arthur Symons and Edmund Gosse

Then after matriculation, Sarojini went to England where she came in contact with such leading literary figures as Arthur Symons and Edmund Goose. She also came in contact with some members of the Rhymer’s club. These contacts helped her to acquire that verbal dexterity and technical skill without which she would not have been able to translate her visions and experiences into melodious verse.

The Advise of Edmund Gosse

In England Sarojini showed her poems to Edmund Goose. This perceptive critic was able to see. Through her technical accomplishments and her poetic acumen. But he was also discouraged. But he did not discourage her. Instead he gave her some sane advice. “The verses which Sarojini had entrusted to me were skilful in form. Correct in grammar and blameless in sentiment, but they had the disadvantage of being totally without individuality. They were western in feeling and imagery, they were founded on reminiscences of Tennyson and Shelley, I am not sure that they did not even breathe an atmosphere of Christian resignation. I laid them down in despair this was but the note of the mocking bird with a vengeance … I implored her to consider that from an Indian of extreme sensibility who has mastered not only the language but the prosody of the west, what we wished to receive was no a rechauffe of Anglo Saxon sentiment in an Anglo-Saxon setting but some revelation of the heart of India, some sincere penetrating analysis of native passion, of the principles of antique religion, and of such mysterious intimations as stirred the soul of the east long before the west had begun to dream that it had a soul. Sarojini knew that there was sincerity in the words of Edmund Gosse and she heeded his words and decided to devote herself to Indian themes and sentiments. And Sarojini remained the least imitative in her folk poetry.

Sarojini’s Poetical Output

The three slender volumes of verses (the fourth was published posthumously) established Sarojini Naidu as a great and significant poet in her own right. Most of these poems are the spontaneous responses to the objects, people and happenings that attracted her attention. If we have to have meet the palanquin bearers whose tribe has now become extinct, we have to encounter them in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu.

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.

In the like manner the tribe of bejeweled nobles, and nawabs, which has almost vanished can be encountered in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu :

Turbans of crimson and silver

Tunies of purple brocade,

Mirrors of panels of amber,

Daggers with haridles of jade.

Her raiment is like morning mist.

Shop opal and gold and amethyst

Her chamber walls richly inlaid.

With agate porphyry, onyx and jade.

As a poet of love

Sarojini Naidu is one of the most significant voices in the realm of love poetry. Her love poetry exhibits a rare tenderness and delicacy of emotion. For her love was beyond the barriers of caste. Creed, religion, colour or profession in this sphere her affinities with Metaphysical poets like John Donne and Andrew Marvell are apparent. For her love is the soul, is hunger for the dissolution of the body. Her love poetry offers many meaningful insights into the passionate side of human nature.

As a Nature Poet

Physical nature also inspired Sarojini to write some significant verse. Like the Romantics whose influence on her poetry is very apparent. She was allured. By the charms of nature especially, in all its moods spring was the season which sent her manifestations. Though her approach to nature is sensuous and passionate, it does not exit on the plane on which Wordsworth’s nature poetry exists.

As a poet of death

Another important star in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu is her fascination towards death. She accepts that is the final reality. But she loved file also and hence she asks to stay awhile so that she can enjoy life to the full :

Tarry awhile till I am satisfied

Of love and grief of earth and altering sky.

Till all human hunger are fulfilled

As a Lyric Poet

It is as lyric poet of great intensity that Sorojini Naidu is appreciated today. The other qualities of her poetry may not be appreciated by people but her lyric intensity will always be there to allure the hearts of her readers. Her lyrics are simple, direct and sensuous. They have a unique charm and grace because she does not use the instrument of lyric for the purpose of conveying a message. Her poetry. As she herself said has a bird like quality. Her beart is touched by the scenes. Sights and sound around her and her imagination transforms these experience into lilting lyrics.


Sarojini Naidu was primarily a poet of the human heart, a ‘wandering singer’ as she called herself. P. E. Dustoor, marking an assessment of her achievement said “with the eloquence of a Portia and the tunefulness of Ariel she combined the imishness and love of fun of a Puck; she blended dignity with mirth and tempered gravity with gaiety. O death I cannot die.

English Literature Important links

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