In The Bazaars of Hyderabad
What do you sell, 0 ye merchants?
Richly your wares are displayed,
Turbans of crimson and silver,
Tunics of purple brocade,
Mirrors with panels of amber,
Daggers with handles of jade.
What do you weigh, 0 ye vendors?
Saffron and lentil and rice.
What do you grind, 0 ye maidens?
Sandalwood, henna and spice.
What do you call, 0 ye pedlars?
Chessmen and ivory dice.
What do you make, 0 ye goldsmiths?
Wristlet and anklet and ring,
Bells for the feet of blue pigeons,
Frail as a dragon-fly's wing,
Girdles of gold for the dancers,
Scabbards of gold for the king.
What do you cry, 0 ye fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate and plum.
What do you play, 0 musicians?
Cithar, sarangi and drum.
What do you chant, 0 magicians?
Spells for the aeons to come.
What do you weave, 0 ye flower-girls?
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,
Chaplets to garland his bed,
Sheets of white blossoms new-gathered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.
About The Poet :
Sarojini Naidu, The Nightingale of India, was a patriot and freedom fighter, but her first love was poetry. When she started writing poetry, she imitated English poets. Soon, however, she began to write about Indian themes. She played an important part in the social and cultural life of Hyderabad for many years. This poem describes the various stalls in the bazaars of Hyderabad. The poem consists of questions and answers.
Words to know :
Citron : a fruit like a lemon
Vendor / pedlars : people who sell goods