Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, KALI THE MOTHER, by SAROJINI NAIDU

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KALI THE MOTHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All voices: o terrible and tender and divine!
Last Line: Kali! Maheshwari!
Subject(s): Death; Memory; Prayer; Worship; Dead, The

All Voices: O TERRIBLE and tender and divine!
O mystic mother of all sacrifice,
We deck the sombre altars of thy shrine
With sacred basil leaves and saffron rice;
All gifts of life and death we bring to thee,
Uma Haimavati!

Maidens: We bring thee buds and berries from the wood!
Brides: We bring the rapture of our bridal prayer!
Mothers: And we the sweet travail of mother-hood!
Widows: And we the bitter vigils of despair!
All Voices: All gladness and all grief we bring to thee,
Ambika! Parvati!

Artisans: We bring the lowly tribute of our toil!
Peasants: We bring our new-born goats and budded wheat!
Victors: And we the swords and symbols of our spoil!
Vanquished: And we the shame and sorrow of defeat!
All Voices: All triumph and all tears we bring to thee,
Girija! Shambhavi!

Scholars: We bring the secrets of our ancient arts.
Priests: We bring the treasures of our ageless creeds.
Poets: And we the subtle music of our hearts.
Patriots: And we the sleepless worship of our deeds.
All Voices: All glory and all grace we bring to thee,
Kali! Maheshwari!

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