Street Cries!

Poetry has no barriers, it crosses the boundaries; it blends with any nation, people, any terrain. It is universal.

A ‘God of Small Things’ can happen only in Aymanam, ‘A Mornings in Jenin’ can take place only in Ein Hod or a ‘Thousan Splendid Suns’ rise only in Herat or Kabul. But the poetry of great poets -be it the Romantic poets of English literature, poetry of Emily Dickinson or Toru Dutt or  Sarojini Naidu- beautifully paint some of the sights, sounds, and street scenes of Cambodia, leaving me astonished whether they all have lived here too!

Street Cries

by Sarojini Naidu

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.

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A way side waffle seller- a morning sight in Phnom Penh

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Baguettes and soup- a street scene in the morning

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.

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A lady who sells fruits on the roadside

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Bikelihood- A bike load of jikama

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.

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Flower sellers at the riverside, Phnom Penh

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