Being a lowly born I couldn’t aspire to be the flower rose,
though I saw how the sun in the feminine sky slowly rose.
My crimson days of fame had enough nightly thorns,
yet I flung away the worms and never was a sick rose.
I was the new woman; don’t you dare call me a harlot,
and the stage, the hot bed of immorality where corruption rose.
I never minded cross dressing; playing the role of Chaitanya*,
I received His** grace to go beyond the flower rose.
In spite of all your scorns, in your nightly sky,
As ‘Moon of the Star Theater’ even though for a while I rose.
[ This poem is about Binodini Dasi, also known as Notee Binodini who was a 19th Century, Calcutta based Bengali speaking renowned actress and thespian (Wikipedia). Born to prostitution, she lived her life on stage, that gave her the desired freedom. She did become an intrinsic part of Bengal theater. However Indian News Daily in 1876 wrote: “….the theater has by introduction of harlots on the stage become the hot bed of immorality and corruption.”
*Chaitanya (Born 18 February 1486) was a spiritual leader.
**’His’ refers to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) the Indian mystic and yogi in the 19th century who instigated Binodini’s spiritual transformation. ]
Posted for my prompt The Flower: Rose @ Poets United Midweek Motif
Shared with Micropoetry Month: Nov 2017 #22 hosted by Thotpurge
18 thoughts on “The Flower: Rose (A Ghazal)”
I just love the cultural/historical influence here, again It makes it so interesting, and exotic. Beautifully lyrical verse..
Wow Sumana, I didn’t know about her.. what guts it must have taken at that time in that society. Love your first attempt at Ghazal. Read Agha Shahid Ali..he brings the form to an unimaginable height! Thanks so much for sharing with my Micropoetry Month!
Sumana, you did this so well. The cultural historic perspective very enlightening. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Such an inspirational write
a beautiful ghazal and i’m always happy to read the notes
Before reading your note, I found the rich voice of a woman who made her own way despite all. With the history filling in the details, you put icing on the cake. I’m impressed.
Hi Sumana, good to know! You have amazing talent! Good day!
Wow, this piece is rich with imagery. I also admire confidence in the speaker’s voice. And your footnotes are a bonus. Thank you!
Wonderful poem, and nicely written. Greetings!
Wow! The poem is wonderful and the history fascinating. I imagine the stage did give a woman a platform she otherwise would not have had. Such an interesting response to the prompt.
What a lovely way to tell a story
Thank you for linking your rose poem to such an interesting story and that of a survivor..
There is so much in this poem Sumana and your snippet fo history is really well told. Sadly the use and abuse of women continues quite regardless of how far we think we have advanced as a fair and respectful world, which we haven’t!
Outstanding ghazal, Sumana. Thanks for the background information.
Tis sad, one cannot aspire to be a rose. Thank you for the notes it really helps me understand the message of the poem.
We all have to find our place. I am glad she found hers despite her circumstances.
and regardless of who accepted her. It is sad, but I feel she rose beyond the rose.
What a beautiful poem! Binodini is still remembered for her enthralling performances in a variety of leading roles. …
I love the “back story” of your poem, thanks for sharing. Yes, the rose, the loveliest in the garden. Would that each of us could be a “rose.