Tuesday Poem – A Love Song from the North by Sarojini Naidu

Seeing as it’s Diwali at the moment (or the Festival of Lights), I thought I’d post a poem by an Indian poet. 
A Love Song from the North
by Sarojini Naidu (1879 – 1949)


Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,
Wouldst thou recall to my heart, papeeha,
Dreams of delight that are gone,
When swift to my side came the feet of my lover
With stars of the dusk and the dawn?
I see the soft wings of the clouds on the river,
And jewelled with raindrops the mango-leaves quiver,
And tender boughs flower on the plain…..
But what is their beauty to me, papeeha,
Beauty of blossom and shower, papeeha,
That brings not my lover again?
Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,
Wouldst thou revive in my heart, papeeha
Grief for the joy that is gone?
I hear the bright peacock in glimmering woodlands
Cry to its mate in the dawn;
I hear the black koel’s slow, tremulous wooing,
And sweet in the gardens the calling and cooing
Of passionate bulbul and dove….
But what is their music to me, papeeha
Songs of their laughter and love, papeeha,
To me, forsaken of love?

Sarojini Naidu
I believe a papeeha is a type of bird.
Sarojini Naidu, known as the Nightingale of India, was born on 13 February 1879 in Hyderabad.  She was a famous Indian poet, a major freedom fighter,  the first Indian woman to be appointed president of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to be appointed Governor of an Indian state (Uttar Pradesh).   She was an active participant in the Indian Independence movement, joining Gandhi in the Salt March to Dandi.
More about her here.
Mahatma Gandhi & Sarojini Naidu


  1. Janis, I must confess that I am rather ignorant when it comes to Indian poets and poetry, so thank you for posting this! It has widened my horizons considerably. The peacocks calling reminds me of Wallace Steven’s poem ‘Domination of Black’.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth. I knew nothing about Indian poetry myself, until yesterday when I started looking for something to acknowledge Diwali. I’ll definitely be trying to learn more!

  3. Janis, what a startling and lovely poem–so moving, the repetitions, the exotic (to us) wooing of other creatures, and that heartbreaking ‘papeeha, papeeha”. Thank you for posting this

  4. I chosen her to write a biographical criticism for a class. Her poem “To A Buddha Seated On A Lotus”, very good for daydreamming about peace for all of us. Her words in many poems read like incantations.

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