THE BANGLE SELLERS

Sarojini Naidu is a well known poet of India. She was known as ”The Nightingale of India”. Her poems are noted for their expression of various shades of romantic sensibilities and fervour. Naidu’s poems ensemble the elements of whole of the Indian culture and civilization. Her poems are the mirror of the time which she lived in. ”The Bangle Sellers” is no exception to the above ideas. It explores the life of Indian woman, the Indian cultures and traditions revolving around women. In its Indianness, this poem to similar to another poem of hers, ”In the Bazaars of Hyderabad”.

The poem begins with the speakers introducing themselves as the bangle sellers who sell their bangles at the temple fair. These bangle sellers are calling out people to buy their bangles for their daughters and wives. The Indianness of the setting and the poem is evident from the use of words like ”temple fair” and ”lustrous tokens of radiant lives”. A temple fair is a typical Indian setting because of its rich cultures of temples and temple goers. Bangles, in Indian culture, are associated with happiness and prosperity and bought on special occasions. Bangles are also an important ornament for beautification of women in Indian society.

The poet, through the bangles of different colours, talks about the different stages in the life of women. The second stanza talks about the maiden life of women. Naidu puts this idea into her readers with her choice of words. Words like ”maiden wrists”, ”buds that dream” and ”new born leaves” all depict something that is young. As mentioned earlier, different coloured bangles are worn by women in different stages of life. Silver and Blue coloured bangles like the mountain mist, or green coloured like the new leaves. Blue, Silver or Green coloured bangles are generally worn by young maidens.

In the third stanza, poet talks about bridal stage in the life of a women. Again words like ”bridal morn”, ”marriage fire”, ”bridal tear” and ”bridal laughter” signify this idea of the poet. The bangle seller states that the bangles which are yellow in colour like ”fields of sunlit corn” are perfect for a bride on her bridal morning. Bangles which are similar in colour to the marriage fire also represent the same. The words ”bridal laughter and bridal tears” are very striking. It expresses both her joy of starting a new life with her husband and the sorrow of leaving her parents behind. These words also convey the transition in life from maiden to a wife.

In the last stanza of the poem, the poet talks about the middle-aged women who has journeyed through her life. The purple and gold flecked grey bangles suit these women. The poet then, states what she perceives qualities of a good wife are. The attributes of a good wife, according to the poet, are that she should have raised her children well, she should have remained faithful to her husband and family. Also note should be made of the word ‘son‘, this could just be a coincident or as mentioned earlier, the representation of the time in which Sarojini Naidu lived where more preference was given to a male child. If we exclude the minor blip in the last, this poem is a celebration of female life.

The poem is filled with used of similes. The poet uses colours of bangles associates it to the different stages in the life of a women. While describing the colours suitable for maidens, the poet uses,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist”, and

Some are flushed like the buds that dream”
In the third stanza, the poet compares the colours of bangle for a bride to the ”fields of sunlit corn” and ”flame of her marriage fire”.
”Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear”

This simile is used to describe the joys and sorrows of getting married. Not only similes but metaphors are also used to make comparisons. In the first stanza, bangles the described as ”Rainbow-tinted circles of light” and ”shining loads”. Young maidens are compared to the ”buds that dream”.
The words ”buds that dream” is also an example of imagery as it presents before us an image of young girls dreaming of marriage. Other examples of imagery in the poem are ”mountain mist”, ”new born leaves” and ”flame of her marriage fire”. They enhance the beauty of the scene.
The poet uses anaphora while describing the ideal wife. The last three lines of the poem begin with the word ”and” to emphasize on the incidents marking woman a good wife. Alliteration is another literary device used by the poet. The /h/ sound in the lines
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire”, and
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest
is an example of alliteration.

The Bangle Sellers is a lyric poem written in four stanzas of six line each. The rhyme scheme is ‘AABBCC‘. It follows no particular metrical style. There is no single speaker in the poem, though it may seem that there is only one speaker but it is not the case. The poet uses different speakers to give a ‘class essence’ to the bangle sellers. It has a definite structure. The first stanza acts as an introduction while the next three stanzas represent three different stages in the life of a women.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. ‘I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing’ is one of her most popular works. On its very superficial layer, the poem contrasts the experiences of the caged birds with that of the free birds. But it is not only that, remember Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist. Through the extended metaphor of birds, the poet talks about the historical oppression of the African-American community in the American society.

The opening stanza of the poem demonstrates the freedom the bird experiences as it moves freely in the wind, gliding up and down but the poem quickly takes a somber tone when it talks about the caged birds. Words like ‘narrow cage‘ and ‘bars of rage’ signify the distressed situation of the caged bird. Further, his wings are clipped and his feet are tied. The wavering voice of the caged birds shows his desire for freedom. The free bird, on the other hand, enjoys his freedom as he flies over the trade winds. The free bird has no limitation to its freedom as he can fly anywhere it wants to and can make the sky its own. The caged bird ‘stands on the grave of dreams’ because he knows that he cannot fly in the sky, he is not free but a prisoner. His dream of freedom is futile, thus, he stands on the grave of his dreams. The poet again talks about the clipped wings and the tied feet of the caged bird, but his mouth is not tied up so he opens it to sing. The bird is hopeful for his freedom. The idea exerted by the poet is that one must always be hopeful for one’s freedom and raise voice against its oppressors.

The poem is also titled as ‘Caged Bird‘, can be seen as a reflection on social disparity, and the ideals of freedom and justice. There is an extensive use of metaphor in this poem. Angelou, with the metaphor of the birds, represents the inequality of justice seen in the American society between the African-American community and their White American counterparts. The freedom enjoyed by the White American contrasts with the freedom enjoyed by African-Americans. Refrain is also used in the poem to heighten the distress experienced by the caged bird. The lines which show refrain are:

his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The idea of desperate longing of freedom is expressed more clearly through these lines. The repetition of the entire third stanza — which also appears, word for word, as the poem’s sixth stanza — further demonstrates the resilience of the African-American community. This refrain conveys the message that the caged bird does not simply give up, but rather will continue to sing for freedom — thus suggesting that the African-American community endures its intolerable circumstances, it will continue to yearn and work for freedom. Symbols are also used very prominently in the poem. The cage, described as narrow, which holds the bird captive, preventing free movement. This cage defines the bird and strip its identity, as indicated by the fact that the bird is referred to as the ‘caged bird‘ for a major part of the poem. As mentioned earlier, the two birds symbolize two different American communities. The caged bird is a symbol of imprisonment, while his song is the symbol of freedom. Also juxtaposition is used between caged and free birds, to compare and contrast them.

The poem also contains allusion to literature and historical events related to the oppression of African-Americans. The most prominent allusion in the poem is the ”caged bird” itself, which Angelou borrows from the poem of Paul Laurence Dunbar titled ”Sympathy.” Dunbar in his poem compared his experience as a black man to that of a bird in captivity. Angelou’s poem builds off on Dunbar’s ideas. The poem also makes an allusion to the slave trade when it mentions ‘trade winds‘. The trade routes of these slave trades were significantly influenced by the trade winds, which blew east to west from Africa towards the Caribbean. The reference to the ”free bird’‘ thinking of the ”trade winds” is part of what makes it clear that the free bird symbolizes white America, which sees its freedom as justifying the exploitation of the rest of the day.

Imagery is another literary device which has been used by the poet. The poem is full of different images. ”free bird” is an imagery for sight. The image of a free bird going wherever it wants, ranging from enjoyment on stream to soaring on the wind. Some other example of imagery in the poem are ”orange sun rays” and ”throat to sing”.

Some other literary devices used in the poem are alliteration and assonance. The example of alliteration can be seen in the repetition of /s/ sound in ”seldom see through”, /w/ sound in ”worms waiting” and the /sh/ sound in ”shadow shouts”. The example of assonance can be seen in the repetition of /i/ sound in ”distant hills” and ”sings with fearful hills’. Personification is used in the poem such as ”sighing trees”, as if the trees were feeling sorrowful.

The poem does not follow any specific form. It is written in free verse. It contains six stanzas which vary in the number of lines and the length of those lines. It has no set rhyme scheme, but it uses rhyme in many ways. The poet uses end rhyme to make the stanza melodious as in the case with rhyming words like ”trill”, and ”shrill”. Internal rhyme is used in the line like ”waiting on a dawn bright lawn”. The poet also uses repetition to emphasize a particular point like in the case of ”A free bird thinks” and ”The caged bird sings” which have been repeated several times in the poem.

The poem reflects the facts of racial segregation or social discrimination in American society against African-American people. Through the metaphors of caged and free birds, Angelou highlights the nature of captivity and the importance of American ideals of freedom and liberty.

TO A BUTTERFLY

-William Wordsworth

Wordsworth’s poem ,‘To A Butterfly’ broken down to its most elemental feature seeks to bring alive his declamation made in the preface to his era- defining work which he co-authored with his friend and fellow writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge called ,The Lyrical Ballad(1798). One of the most common features of his poetry, the larger corpus which come under Romanticism, can be understood clearly under the light of imagination, an aspiration for infinite goodness, the return to nature, a fleeting sense of time, reminiscence and an urge to reel back into the past. Wordsworth sought to break away from the fetters of reason and venture into the vast unexplored territory of soaring
imagination, while trying to write poetry in,” the real language of men”. A common thread which seems to be looming over all of his works is the fact that he always saw poetry as, “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings… recollected in tranquillity”, which helps him and his work transcend and reach well into the modern times while simultaneously maintaining its original relevance,
naturalism, beauty and innocence.

The poem opens with the poet contemplating and observing with keen interest,” the self poised butterfly”, which sits quietly on a yellow flower in a garden. He seems to be in a state of stupor and entranced by the butterfly. He says that he has watched the butterfly for a full half-hour, which shows that at the very outset of the poem, the poet has a firm sense of the progression of time and the fabric of reality, which as the poem progresses, gradually gives way to reminiscence and a warped and fleeting sense of time. A shroud of mysticism hangs heavy over the butterfly since the poet knows not, if it sleeps or eats. Time slows down, and the adjective, ‘motionless’ is brought to the fore and painted by the use of ‘frozen seas’. There is powerful nature imagery at play. The poet in the latter lines of the first stanza begins to address the butterfly as if it were human. ‘Joy’ is a very human emotion and the wind rustling through leaves and brushing past one’s cheeks hath a joy only
a human can know. But Wordsworth attributes these emotions to a butterfly.

The second stanza begins on a personal note and we can see an allusion to his sister Dorothy Wordsworth. It’s his plot of orchard he says and that the trees are his and the flowers belong to
his sister. He asks the butterfly to rest their wings if they are weary and rest in the comfort of his sanctuary. Wordsworth in the line,

Here lodge as in sanctuary!
makes use of a beautiful simile. The poet further assures the butterfly that no harm will ever come to her in their garden. He implores the butterfly to come and perch near them on the branch so that they can converse,” of sunshine and of songs “. In the very next line when the poet talks of summer
days when he and his sister were young and this throws light and hints towards the quality of timelessness and reminiscence. There seems to be a heightened sense of euphoria surrounding their childhood and time loses its fast movie quality and becomes unhurried. Timelessness is a state
of being in which time and transcended imaginatively. In the lines,

“Sweet childish days, that were as long,
As twenty days are now.”

There is an air of leisureliness encircling these days of palpable cheerfulness. The imagination of the
poet acts upon the external world, integrating a series of perceptions into a single, transcendent vision beyond time and space. He requests the butterfly to remain close by, and not to take its flight. He wants to spend some more time with the butterfly and says that he finds much confidence, solace and conversation in it. Wordsworth calls the butterfly,” the historian of his infancy”, because its presence, on that yellow flower amidst his garden triggered his memories of lost youth. He asks the butterfly to hover and loom close by and to not leave his company so soon. Dead times revive in it and it brings out his long lost memories of carefree childhood days. It brings to his mind the ‘solemn’ and sincere image almost earnest to a fault. It brings to his mind the memories of his family. The butterfly here is personified as the harbinger of the dead past and memories. The poet also makes use of archaic terms like ‘Thou’ and ‘thee’. So, a sense of the old and antiquity is felt in these lines. It almost embodies in all shape and form and even formlessness, the quality of fleeting time and fading memories. The poem explores the dim lit alleys of the past and takes a walk into the sands of time retracing the marks of footsteps the poet left behind as a joyous youth. It is consuming in its essence and beautiful in form. It’s a lyrical poem which embodies the spirit of naturalism and Romanticism.


The poem shows the transient nature of time. But Underneath the thematic exploration and the use of literary tools, ‘To A Butterfly’ implores the little creature, the historian of the poets infancy, even if for a fleeting moment, to revive the dead time, so that he can revel amidst the ashes of the dead.

DAFFODILS

William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, in its essence, is a nature poem. In this poem Wordsworth, talks about the beauty of nature and the effect it has on human mind. William Wordsworth was one of the great English Romantic poet and we can see this greatly influenced by his romantic ideas. The poet expresses his own ideas in this poem, thus, making it subjective in nature, which is one of the most important characteristics of Romantic poetry.

Wordsworth, in his theory of poetry, states that poetry is a ”spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” This poem is a great example of that theory. This poem was written in 1804 but was inspired by the event that had happened in 1802 when Wordsworth was traveling along with his sister, Dorothy in the Lake District of England and they came across a long belt of daffodils. Wordsworth’s powerful emotions take the form of poetry as he is mesmerized by the scenery in front of him.

The original title of the poem was ‘I wondered lonely as a cloud’ is also the first line of the poem. The poem is full of figures of speech such as simile and personification. As mentioned earlier, the first line of the poem,
‘I wondered lonely as a cloud’
is a simile. The poet compares himself to a cloud, as they are both moving aimlessly in their lives. Another example of simile in the poem comes in the second stanza when the poet compares the daffodils with the stars. The flowers are stretched in continuous line just like the stars in the milky way.
“Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way”
Another figure of speech used in the poem very potently is personification. The daffodils are given human-like attributes where they are seen fluttering and dancing. Also the poet addresses the group of daffodils as host.
‘A host, of golden daffodils;’ and
‘Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.’
The use of imagery is also quite vivid in this poem. The lines mentioned below are one of the finest uses of imagery in English poetry;
“A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Here words like golden, fluttering and dancing create distinct images in our minds. While reading these lines, the reader is immediately transported into the fields of daffodils.
William Wordsworth was a pantheist. He saw nature as a living entity and also there was something divine in nature. Though his pantheism is more prominent in his earlier works such as ”Tintern Abbey” and his ”Preludes” but he can see a hint of it in this poem too. He is in so much love with the beauty of nature that it starts affecting his mind. The lines:
“They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude”
Here he refers to the images of daffodils which are enough to transport him to a place of happiness. As if there is something divine energy in those flowers which can change your ‘pensive mood’ into ‘bliss of solitude’. You can see that he is reminding his readers about the powerful forces of nature.

The major theme of this poem is the beauty of nature and the impact it has on the human minds. Wordsworth throughout the poem, with his skilled use of imagery is taking us to the beautiful field of daffodils. In the third stanza of the poet, he talks about the impact the daffodils have had in his mind.
He states:
“A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company”
These lines clearly state the impact of nature on poet’s mind. He calls the daffodils a cheerful company and states that a poet could be nothing but happy in their company. The poet furthers this argument by stating that whenever he is in a pensive mood, his inward eye (imagination) takes him to those daffodils, they become the source of his happiness. This image gives him so much pleasure that he feels like he is dancing among the daffodils.

Wordsworth was one of the great lyric poets. Daffodils is also a lyric poem. It is written in four stanzas of six lines each and the rhyming scheme is ABABCC .The style is very simple and the language is easy to understand.

This is one of the most popular works of William Wordsworth. Through this poem, the main characteristics of Wordsworth as poet is also expressed. His pantheism, his nature-love, his romantic ideas all find a expression in this poem. Thus, making it one of the important works of William Wordsworth.