Set along the Coromandel coast, the poem has many phrases that may seem complicated, but that are beautifully written. It consists of four stanzas, each containing four lines, and follows a rhyme scheme that can be denoted by the iambic meter in AABB ( rhymed the first two and last two lines of each stanza).
Naidu has started the poem with dialogue stating ” rise, brothers, rise”, allowing the reader to feel as though they are present on the Coromandel coast. The phrase literally refers to the early start of the fishermen, but can be interpreted as a beckoning call to those who wish for the country’s freedom.
She moves on to state “the wakening skies pray to the morning light” and that the “wind lies asleep in the arms of dawn like a child that has cried all night”. The two statements above make a subtle reference to the weather, and the former is the first example of personification in the poem. The latter phrase is the only example of a simile in Naidu’s allegory. However, she has also gifted dawn with arms, thus personifying it.
In the next line, she speaks of catamarans, fishing boats used specifically in the South, thus enhancing the setting of the poem, which is only explicitly mentioned in the title. As she goes on to talk of the “wealth of the tide”, the reader realizes that the poem is ubiquitous with personification. Wealth to the fishermen comes in the form of fish, and with the tide, come plenty of those.
We are reminded of the milieu of the poem once again, when Sarojini talks of “following the track of the seagull’s call”. In those days, the call of the seagull was what directed fishermen towards the fish. She christens the sea her “mother” and the clouds her “brothers” while the waves are named her “comrades”. This metaphor links to the caring of the family for one another, as the sea does for the fish, and the clouds do for the sea.
The next two lines speak of the link between fear and courage and the fine line between them. She asks us ” what do we toss at the fall of the sun?” and lets us know that with success come some sacrifices, and that although we are wary of these, ” he who holds the storm by the hair, will hide in his breast our lives”. She has also personified the storm in that line.
The last stanza is a comparison between life on land and at sea. She uses vivid imagery here to describe the sent and shade of coconut glades and mango groves, but then reminds the fishermen that the “kiss of the spray” and the “dance of the wild foam’s glee” is a taste much sweeter. She reminds us not to be content with temporary satisfaction, but to work towards the happiness and joy that we have found elsewhere.
This last stanza holds a strong metaphoric value, as it talks of the temporary satisfaction that some people faced under the rule of the British, as well as how all Indians knew that there was real joy to be found in living independently.
As I conclude, I state that this poem is beautifully and most poetically written. It is a great read for those who are willing to seek the message delivered through the secret passages of metaphors and allegories. I recommend this poem to those, who are willing to remember, the people and movements that helped us gain our independence.
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