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WHEN dawn’s first cymbals beat upon the sky,
Rousing the world to labour’s various cry,
To tend the flock, to bind the mellowing grain,
From ardent toil to forge a little gain,
And fasting men go forth on hurrying feet,
Buy bread, buy bread, rings down the eager street.

When the earth falters and the waters swoon
With the implacable radiance of noon,
And in dim shelters koyals hush their notes,
And the faint, thirsting blood in languid throats
Craves liquid succour from the cruel heat,
Buy fruit, buy fruit, steals down the panting street.

When twilight twinkling o’er the gay bazaars,
Unfurls a sudden canopy of stars,
When lutes are strung and fragrant torches lit
On white roof-terraces where lovers sit
Drinking together of life’s poignant sweet,
Buy flowers, buy flowers, floats down the singing street.

Street Cries by Sarojini Naidu

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