The Pardah Nashin


Sarojini Naidu

Her life is a revolving dream

Of languid and sequestered ease;

Her girdles and her fillets gleam

Like changing fires on sunset seas;

Her raiment is like morning mist,

Shot opal, gold and amethyst.

From thieving light of eyes impure,

From coveting sun or wind's caress,

Her days are guarded and secure

Behind her carven lattices,

Like jewels in a turbaned crest,

Like secrets in a lover's breast.

But though no hand unsanctioned dares

Unveil the mysteries of her grace,

Time lifts the curtain unawares,

And Sorrow looks into her face...

Who shall prevent the subtle years,

Or shield a woman's eyes from tears?

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