Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!
No longer delay, let us hasten away in the track of the sea gull’s call,
The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all.
What though we toss at the fall of the sun where the hand of the sea-god drives?
He who holds the storm by the hair, will hide in his breast our lives.
Sweet is the shade of the cocoanut glade, and the scent of the mango grove,
And sweet are the sands at the full o’ the moon with the sound of the voices we love;
But sweeter, O brothers, the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;
Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea.
Coromandel Fishers by Sarojini Naidu is but a poem of the Coromandel Coast, the shoreline stretching from and covering a long track suggestive of the fishing activity and the coming and going of ships and navigation indirectly. So was the history of Bombay and the fishing community living by and the temple of Mumba Devi. The poetess though she has delved upon the joyful side merely rather than the risk they bear, tries to capture the morning time spirit and the fishing spree of the fish catchers and boatmen. How do they launch their boats? How do they go on fishing rounds? What has the sea too to offer? How do they trail their nets and what it draws too to their amazement? Such a description it lies in Jayanta Mahapatra’s Hunger poem but in a different way. All this lie in discussed here in this poem. It is a song of the sea, seafaring and the fishermen. But a fisherman’s version may be different from that as for the sea seen from different angles no doubt so full of fury, commotion and clamour, calm and tranquil too at the same time. The times have slipped past, but the communities have not nor had their labour and livelihood, only the techniques have changed. Whatever be that, let us hear from her. There is also one poem, Poem in October by Dylan Thomas which also reminds us of the early morning time sea scenes.
Addressing the mute fishermen personae as brothers, Sarojini Naidu asks them to rise and to attend to the call of their duty which but they do it and have been for so long. The waking skies seem to pray to the morning light. The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night. Here the simile takes us aback. So, let us come together and gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free to capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea. Those who venture into are really adventurers, no less than kings daring to take us by stride.
No longer any delay, let us hasten away in the track of the sea gull’s call. The aquatic birds know it well and they keep calling and dotting the space and flying it over the landscape. The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, and the waves are our comrades all. Here she is very much metaphoric. What though we toss at the fall of the sun where the hand of the sea-god drives? He who holds the storm by the hair, will hide in his breast our lives. But something is beyond us which, but we do not know it. But whatever be that One who commands it all will definitely see them, saving them from impending danger, bailing out of scarcity and crisis which but we can hope for.
The poetess talks of the shade of the coconut glade and the scent of the mango grove. Sweet are the sands at the full the moon with the sound of the voices we love to hear. The kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee will charm them. The poetess asks to row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea. But to contrast with John Masefield’s Sea Fever, Conrad’s The Lagoon and Coleridge’s The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, the things will come to naturally what she has and what not. The sea which is so tranquil is also so full of tides at the same time and none can about.
The poetess has described the life of the fisherman here in this poem. How do they keep working for
their livelihood which is but their age-old profession and passion, pastime as well as appetite? What they are up to? How is their life? They prefer to be at sea rather than the land. They keep busy with fishing as this is the life of the fisherman, the Indian fisherman which is almost the same. Without caring for the dangers, they venture into the seas. While in the middle, they sometimes get strayed with the wisps and whiffs of water. Wild foam’s glee startles them with the surfy spread and cover. Sometimes rough weather may pose problems, but it all depends on time and situation.
Though written as an address to the Coromandel fishermen, the poetess presents the scenic and
panoramic view of the wide sea full of foam and surf, sometimes tranquil, sometimes full of furies and they braving the odds keep fishing into the waters which are but their livelihood. The fishermen against the backdrop of a wide sea with their boats have been exhorted to start their day early in the morning when even it is a little dark or the sea waves after a lull seem to be at bay.
Sarojini Naidu who has been given the title of the Nightingale of India is the writer of the poem so
picturesque of the Coromandel fishers combining it all with the scenic view of the sea and sea waters, waves washing the shore, the winds after howling all through the night coming to a lull in the morning as often and the sea birds calling and the fishermen preparing to go to sea.
The Coromandel fishers, the poetess is here addressing them with the word, brother and coaxing them to rise and hear the call of the sea and the wave to be to the shore with the fishing boats and go for a catch and play with passion and the wind and the surf floating, sometimes sprayed with the whiff of water, sometimes foam taking them aback.
The theme of Coromandel Fishers is just to present the coastal fishermen’s life, their daylong hectic activity and seafaring full of adventure and risk and to picture the scenic view of the seas so tranquil and tumultuous too at the same time with the boats sailing and they are going for a catch hurling the nets and rowing the waters. Naidu as a poetess remains concerned with the singsong and the lyrical side rather than the didactic and moral view of life.