‘June Sunset’ by Sarojini Naidu

June Sunset

Sarojini Naidu

Here shall my heart find its haven of calm,
By rush-fringed rivers and rain-fed streams
That glimmer thro’ meadows of lily and palm.
Here shall my soul find its true repose
Under a sunset sky of dreams
Diaphanous, amber and rose.
The air is aglow with the glint and whirl
Of swift wild wings in their homeward flight,
Sapphire, emerald, topaz, and pearl.
Afloat in the evening light.

A brown quail cries from the tamarisk bushes,
A bulbul calls from the cassia-plume,
And thro’ the wet earth the gentian pushes
Her spikes of silvery bloom.
Where’er the foot of the bright shower passes
Fragrant and fresh delights unfold;
The wild fawns feed on the scented grasses,
Wild bees on the cactus-gold.

An ox-cart stumbles upon the rocks,
And a wistful music pursues the breeze
From a shepherd’s pipe as he gathers his flocks
Under the pipal-trees.
And a young Banjara driving her cattle
Lifts up her voice as she glitters by
In an ancient ballad of love and battle
Set to the beat of a mystic tune,
And the faint stars gleam in the eastern sky
To herald a rising moon.

A stamp printed in India shows Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), poet, politician, governor of United Provinces, circa 1964 (Photo: 123RF)

A fierce proponent of the Indian Independence movement, Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet, activist and freedom fighter who advocated for women’s civil rights and anti-imperialism. Named the “Nightingale of India” by Mahatma Gandhi, Naidu had one of the most prolific literary careers in the country’s history.

Along with poetry, Naidu was the first Indian woman to be appointed president of the Indian National Congress and as well as Governor of a state. In the same vein, Naidu also wrote essays and articles about the emancipation of women and her anti-British political views.