The Golden Threshold, with an introduction by Arthur Symons, was first published in 1905. At that time, Sarojini was an unknown young girl. This volume includes forty poems divided into three sections: “Folk Songs,” “Music Songs,” and “Poems.”
Not all of the twelve pieces grouped as “Folk Songs” are sung or supposed to be sung by folk. Several of them are about the folk themselves. Among her poetical output, the folk songs by Sarojini are the most interesting. They breathe the spirit of India, and the heart of our country is laid bare in these songs.
Through her epithets, Sarojini, the lover of delicacy, colour and beauty, has put beautiful hues in her image: “a golden storm of glittering sheaves, of fair and trail and fluttering leaves.” There are two poems with the same title, “Ecstasy”-one in The Golden Threshold and the other in The Bird of Time. The latter poem deals with the ecstasy of the beauty and freshness of the spring season that all lovers of nature feel.
The poem, ‘Palanquin-Bearers’ from this volume is a significant contribution to the tradition of folk songs. The movement of the poem suggests the rhythmic march of the palanquin bearers through the streets. The bearers sing gaily of the beauty of the lady as they carry her along in their palanquin. No fewer than seven similes emphasize her beauty; she “sways like a flower,” “skims like a bird,” “floats like a laugh,” “hangs like a star,” “springs like a beam,” and “falls like a tear”: the bearers of her palanquin bear her along like “a pearl on a string.” J.H. Cousins remarks that “there is not thought” in this poem, yet it is meaningful.
We can pass from palanquin-bearers to Indian minstrels. The wandering singers were called Bhats, and they wandered from place to place, playing music and singing songs, delighting the hearts of their numerous listeners, and making an honest penny for themselves. Singing and playing on roads and streets, in villages and towns, at banquets and weddings, and on festive occasions, both private and public, wandering on festive occasions, both private and public, the wandering minstrels have always presented picturesque sights, and even these days one often comes across them.
The birth, life and death of Man are the subject-matters of ‘Indian weavers.’ This poem brings a picture of a man, dressed in his typical turban and dress, and playing a flute beside a bush in a moonlit garden, trying to capture a snake.’Village Song’ is set in the pastoral atmosphere of the Indian country. Folk life with its native colours is shown in a poem. It’s a song sung by the maiden of the village to the tune of a dialect song: “Full are my pitchers and far to carry/Lone is the way and long”.
“Corn-Grinders” suggests that life cannot be divided into categories: all life is one. Life in the mouse is the same as life in the deer, and life in the deer is the same as life in the deer. The harvest season for Indian peasants is of paramount importance. Harvesting fills their granaries with corn and their pockets with money.
Ode to H. H. the Nizam of Hyderabad – This ode was presented at the Ramzan Darbar to Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, the Prince whom Sarojini esteemed and honoured. Princess Zeb-un-song Nissa’s in Praise of her own Beauty-This twelve-line song is remarkable for a picture of the beauty that she draws. This poem is an example of courteous poetry in the praise of the king or patron.
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