By J.Lynne Moore
Poetry has always been an outlet for the expression of emotions, but it is so much more than that. As with any type of writing, poetry, can and has encompassed every facet of life, within the realm of human understanding. Poetry can be simple and lighthearted; it can be dark and complex. It is a true art form worthy of our respect and support. The contributions of female poets, to this art form, have been extensive, far reaching and as influential as the poetesses themselves. I would like to highlight two poets who have certainly made their mark on the literary world.
Sarojini Naidu, the Nightingale of India was born in 1879, in Bikrampur (in present-day Bangladesh). Her father was a professor and founder of Hyderabad College, her mother was a poet. Mrs. Naidu is best known for her political career, as well as, her work as a fierce women’s rights activist. In 1925, she became the first Indian woman president of the National Congress and worked alongside Gandhi during the Round-Table Conference in 1931.
Ecstasy – By Sarojini Naidu
Cover mine eyes, O my Love!
Mine eyes that are weary of bliss
As of light that is poignant and strong
O silence my lips with a kiss,
My lips that are weary of song!
Shelter my soul, O my love!
My soul is bent low with the pain
And the burden of love, like the grace
Of a flower that is smitten with rain:
O shelter my soul from thy face!
As a poet, she is known as the Nightingale of India, a prolific poet penning many volumes of poetry on any number of subjects. Her first book of poetry “The Golden Threshold”, was published in the United Kingdom in 1905. Her poetry is considered gentle, rhythmic, and lyrical often being sung. Heartfelt themes full of nature and love flow through her words with spender and ease.
Sarojini Naidu was a giant in the world of women’s rights, fighting the whole of her adult life for equality between the genders. Her legacy has impacted the many generations that have come after her and I am sure she will be looked to for inspiration and guidance for generations to come.
In The Forest – By Sarojini Naidu
HERE, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon’s flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.
Emily Dickinson is considered one of the greatest poets of all time. Her volume of work is studied in colleges and universities around the world. Emily was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, 1830. During her lifetime, only a handful of her poetry was published and it was heavily edited to fit in with the “convention” of the time. Emily was known as a recluse, spending most of her time at her parent’s home in her bedroom. It wasn’t until after her death in 1886 did the great volume of her work come to light.
For her time, Miss Dickinson’s poetry was highly unconventional, her use of staggered rhyme, varied punctuation, capitalization and descriptive imagery was seen as, quite out of the ordinary. After her death, her first major volume of published work was heavily edited and her original poems did not see the light of day until 1955 when scholar Thomas H. Johnson restored them to their original penned state. Her poetry is sublime, filled with a depth and intellect not matched by many. Though her poetry had a rocky start, in the literary world, she is now considered one of the greatest American poets.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry is a shining star among the classics of our age. Her example is one that all women, of all ages can hold in great regard, and look to as a bacon to be guided by. She challenged the convention of the day and paved her own path sticking to what was in her heart, penning words that have become immortal.
Hope Is The Thing With Feathers – By Emily Dickinson
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
Ample Make this Bed – By Emily Dickinson
Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
Women have always had a strong presence in the literary world, especially where poetry is concerned. The examples of strong, intelligent, creative women are all around us, if we take the time to seek out their tremendous contributions. From modern day trending poets to lyrical poetesses of the past, poetry holds the words of women from round the world, from every race, age, and background; words that champion the intellectual prowess of women.
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