‘Muliebrity‘ by Sujata Bhatt describes the sight of a young girl in India who spends her days picking up cow-dung, and the inherent “glistening” power she has. The poem begins with the speaker describing how she has been unable to forget the sight of one particular girl on the streets nearby to where she lives.
I have thought so much about the girl
who gathered cow-dung in a wide, round basket
along the main road passing by our house
and the Radhavallabh temple in Maninagar.
I have thought so much about the way she
moved her hands and her waist
and the smell of cow-dung and road-dust and wet canna lilies,
the smell of monkey breath and freshly washed clothes
and the dust from crows’ wings which smells different –
and again the smell of cow-dung as the girl scoops
it up, all these smells surrounding me separately
and simultaneously – I have thought so much
but have been unwilling to use her for a metaphor,
for a nice image – but most of all unwilling
to forget her or to explain to anyone the greatness
and the power glistening through her cheekbones
each time she found a particularly promising
mound of dung –
Analysis of the poem:
Write an essay
Deadline: March 17
Consider the significance of the way in which women are presented in the poem Muliebrity.