Bangle sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair…
Who will buy these delicate, bright
Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Lustrous tokens of radiant lives,
For happy daughters and happy wives.
Some are meet for a maiden’s wrist,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist,
Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves
Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,
Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.
Some are purple and gold flecked grey
For she who has journeyed through life midway,
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband’s side.
The poem is about a group of bangle sellers who are on their way to the temple fair to sell their bangles. One of them is the narrator of this poem. The bangle sellers take their bangles to the temple fair to sell them. The bangles are termed as “lustrous tokens of radiant lives” which symbolize love and happiness in people’s lives particularly the daughters and wives who become happy to possess them.
The poet says that some of the bangles are made for the unmarried women that are silver and blue in colour. The bangles made for the brides glow like corn fields radiating in the morning and like her marriage flame, rich like her heart’s desires. The bangles are tinkling, tender and clear with ‘luminous’ colours like the bride’s laughter and tears. Some bangles are made for the elderly women who have journeyed a great deal in their life.
These bangles are purple in colour flecked with gold and grey colours suitable for the middle-aged women who have served their household well, cradled their sons and have worshipped the Gods with their husbands beside them.
The poem is divided into four stanzas, each comprising six lines. Each stanza consists of three couplets and has the rhyming pattern- ababab.
Bangle sellers take their load of bangles to the temple fair to sell them. The bangles are termed as “lustrous tokens of radiant lives” which mean that they are symbols of love in people’s lives. The bangles are made for happy daughters and happy wives. The poet says that some of the bangles are made for the unmarried women and they are of silver and blue in colour. The other bangles made for the bride glows like the fields of corn during morning and some glow like the bride’s marriage flame rich in colour like her heart’s desires. The bangles are tinkling with ‘luminous’ colours like the bride’s laughter or tears. Some bangles are made for the elderly women who have journeyed through half of their life. These bangles are of purple and grey colours with gold fleckers. These women have served their household well, cradled their sons and have worshipped the household gods with their husbands beside them.
Shining loads, delicate, bright, rainbow-tinted circles of light and lustrous tokens of radiant lives are a few other ways of referring to bangles. People usually buy bangles on temple fairs and such are occasions of happiness. Both the rich and poor buy these bangles and gift them to their wives and daughters. Some of these bangles are perfectly suiting for young girls. They are silver and blue in colour as “the mountain mist”. Some are flushed red like buds dreaming of their blooming on the tranquil banks of woodland streams. Some have the light like clear glow of the glorious leaves that are just recently born. The bangles mentioned above possess purity and tranquillity in common.
The poem brilliantly and soulfully explores the imagery associated with bangles and the implications for women’s roles in a traditionalist Indian social setting. The speaker makes strong connections between the bangles and their role in providing “happy daughters and happy wives.” The subsequent stanzas describe lush and natural imagery, the beauty of the bangles and their precious values. Some of these descriptions invoke the passion of “marriage’s fire” and, in the last stanza; help to bring to light the socially accepted role of women in this setting. The purple and grey bangles, flecked with gold colour symbolize a woman who “serves her household in fruitful pride, and worships the gods at her husband’s side.” The grey colour indicates the maturity that comes with age. It is not very clear in the poem if the bangle seller is a man or a woman, and perhaps, some level of meaning might change if one plays with the gender of the speaker.