Sarojini Naidu

October 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s a sad fact that the women of the Decadent movement are often overlooked. And there were women in the Decadent movement. Not as many as there were men, it’s true, but that was a sign of the times. Well, I’m not going to make the same mistake. I am going introduce my first female Decadent early on. I suppose it should be the wonderful Rachilde, as she was the most prolific, but instead I’m going to start with the sadly little-known Indian poet, Sarojini Naidu. I love this woman’s poetry. She was packed off to England at an early age in an attempt to separate her from a man of a lower caste whom she had become attached to. Like any good Decadent, she married him anyway. She attended classes in London and Cambridge universities, and attracted the attention of Arthur Symons, who helped her get published. She didn’t have a classic decadent ending, but I’m definitely not holding that against her. She supported Gandhi in the fight for India’s independence, and became one of the first feminists of the country. In short, she rocks. And her poetry is amazing.

Sarojini Naidu

Indian Dancers

Eyes ravished with rapture, celestially painting, what

passionate bosoms aflaming with fire

Drink deep of the hush of the hyacinth heavens that

glimmer around them in fountains of light;

O wild and entrancing the strain of keen music that

cleaveth the stars like a wail of desire,

And beautiful dancers with houri-like faces bewitch the

voluptuous watches of night.

The scents of red roses and sandalwood flutter and die in

the maze of their gem-tangled  hair,

And smiles are entwining like magical serpents the

poppies of lips that are opiate-sweet;

Their glittering garments of purple are burning like

tremulous dawns in the quivering air,

And exquisite, subtle and slow are the tinkle and tread of

their rhythmical, slumber-soft feet.

Now silent, now singing and swaying and swinging, like

blossoms that bend to the breezes of showers,

Now wantonly winding, they flash, now they falter, and,

lingering, languish in radiant choir;

Their jewel-girt arms and warm, wavering, lily-long

fingers enchant through melodious hours,

Eyes ravished with rapture, celestially painting, what

passionate bosoms aflaming with fire!


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