Village Song Poem
Full are my pitchers and far to carry,
Lone is the way and long,
Why, O why was I tempted to tarry
Lured by the boatmen’s song?
Swiftly the shadows of night are falling,
Hear, O hear, is the white crane calling,
Is it the wild owl’s cry?
There are no tender moonbeams to light me,
If in the darkness a serpent should bite me,
Or if an evil spirit should smite me,
Rām re Rām! I shall die.
My brother will murmur “Why doth she linger?”
My mother will wait and weep,
Saying, “O safe may the great gods bring her,
The Jamuna’s waters are deep.” . . .
Village Song By Sarojini Naidu is a beautiful poem that speaks about traditional Indian villages. In the poem, the poet describes the difficulties faced by an Indian village woman. It was first published in Sarojini Naidu’s second collection of poems, The Bird of Time. The speaker of the poem is a small girl living in a village who has gone to fetch water from a river that is far away from her home.
There are many places in India where people do not have the facility of running water and for that, they have to walk a long distance to collect water from wells, rivers, ponds, or similar water bodies. It is a chore usually done by women at home. Here the poet talks about a situation where a girl has gone to fetch water from the river. The poem deals with the traditional living style of the village and the attachment of the young girl to her family and how fear is created in her mind because of the darker environment.
About Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu is known as the Nightingale of India. She was one of the greatest poets, short story writers, freedom fighters, and social activists. She has earned a respectable place in the English language and literature. She received many awards for his work. Sarojini Naidu was born in a Bengali family in Hyderabad. Her mother Varada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay, was a poetess and used to write poetry in Bengali.
Sarojini was so good at poetry, that the reason she started getting called The Nightingale of India or Bharat Kokila by Mahatma Gandhi. Her poetry imagery, color, and lyrical quality were so amazing. His famous poem collection included – The Golden Threshold, The Temple, The Birds of Time, Awake, Indian Weavers, and The Feather Of The Down.
Explanation Of the Poem
The girl explains that the pitchers she is carrying are full of water and she has not reached her home yet. She has to walk a long distance carrying the water-filled pitchers to reach her home. Then she explains the reason for her being late as she was attracted by the song sung by the boatman. The time is almost evening, it is getting dark and the girl is getting scared by the sound of the birds surrounding her. She thought the sound is made by the white crane or it is the wild owl’s cry. The road she has taken is also not clean and plain, it passes through a jungle.
The time referred to in the poem is twilight and it is getting darker and the moonlight is not present at that moment. The girl says that the tender moonbeam could give her relief from the fear she is facing. The girl takes a path that is not plain and clean, she fears that a snake may bite her or that evil spirits may haunt her. In this deep state of fear, she takes the name of God Rama to save her from misery.
It is also notable that in many Indian traditions, it is believed that Chanting God Rama’s name keeps evil away from people and there is the possibility that the girl is taking Rama’s name to keep such evil energies away.
The second stanza shows a shift in the speaker’s thinking process where she is now imagining the reaction of her brother and mother. She gets anxious as she remembers her brother and mother. She imagines that her brother will murmur in concern at her delay. On the other hand, her mother will wait and fear that someone bad had happened to her daughter as the water of Jamuna River is deep.
Her mind comes back to the fearful thoughts of self. She weeps thinking about what will happen to her if a storm breaks. If the lightning starts where she hides to save herself. Her fear increases as she thinks about these things. She calls her god, again and again, to protect her footstep and guide her to reach her home safely.
The poem of Sarojini Naidu Village Song depicts the feeling of an Indian girl, who lives in a village. Though the poem was written in the 90s, the condition still exists in many Indian villages. It is about the traditional village way of a girl’s attachment to her family and how the darker surroundings create anxiety in her thoughts.