Poetry Study Aid: Bangle Sellers: 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.
The poem is about a bangle-seller talking about the various kinds of bangles he carries with him, and about the women that buy them. The poem describes the everyday life of bangle-sellers as well. The speaker of the poem is one such bangle sellers and in the first two lines he describes what it is like to carry precious, ‘shiny loads’ of bangles to the temples, fairs and other such places where women can buy them. The third line is akin to a bangle seller’s cry for the sale of his bangles. He calls out to women who might buy these bangles. He thinks these bangles are the tokens of happy lives and happy marriages.
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 with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of newborn leaves
In stanza 2, the bangle-seller says that they carry different kinds of bangles, each catering to different types of women with different needs and preferences. He says that some are blue and silver like the mist in the mountains, which are fit for a maiden’s wrist. Some bangles are of reddish hue like the flushed buds found along a stream. Some of the bangles glow like newborn leaves, owing to the dew and water from the stream. These are all representative of a young girl in her prime.
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 bangles are of the colour yellow like sunlit cornfields. They represent the happiness of a bride-to-be on the morn of her wedding. Then there are bangles which are flame-coloured- red, orange; symbolic of a bride’s passion and desire, especially on her wedding night. These bangles are luminous and transparent, but also tender. The tinkling sound they make reminds of a new bride’s laughter and the clear, tender finish of the bangles bespeak her tears as she leaves her childhood home for her husband’s.
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.
The last stanza focuses on the life of a woman after she’s married. The bangles for these women are purple with gold and grey flecks. They are representative of a woman who is of middle age or who has reached the mid-point of her life, where she has reaped the rewards of her strife. This is the age when she has already bore sons and is proud of her life as she supports her husband, be it in life or when worshipping the household gods.