Village Songs

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,
Ram re Ram! 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. " ...
The Jamuna's waters rush by so quickly,
The shadows of evening gather so thickly,
Like black birds in the sky ...
O! if the storm breaks, what will betide me?
Safe from the lightning where shall I hide me?
Unless Thou succour my footsteps and guide me,
Ram re Ram! I shall die.
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"Village Songs" by Sarojini Naidu - A Poetic Journey of Fear and Hope

In Sarojini Naidu's poem "Village Songs," readers are transported to the rural landscape of India, where the speaker embarks on a journey fraught with fear and uncertainty. Through vivid imagery and evocative language, Naidu explores themes of vulnerability, familial love, and the power of faith, inviting readers to accompany the speaker on their emotional odyssey.

The poem opens with the speaker lamenting their decision to tarry, lured by the enchanting song of the boatmen. As they embark on their journey, the path ahead seems daunting and lonely, with shadows of night descending and the distant call of the white crane echoing in the air. This sense of isolation and foreboding sets the stage for the speaker's internal struggle as they confront the perils of the unknown.

Throughout the poem, Naidu employs rich sensory imagery to immerse readers in the speaker's world. The rush of the Jamuna's waters, the gathering shadows of evening, and the ominous cry of the wild owl create a palpable atmosphere of tension and suspense. The speaker's fear of encountering danger in the darkness, whether from a serpent or an evil spirit, adds to the sense of urgency and vulnerability.

As the speaker grapples with their fears, they are haunted by thoughts of their family waiting anxiously for their safe return. The concern of their brother and mother, expressed through murmurs and tears, underscores the profound bonds of love and responsibility that anchor the speaker to their home and community. The image of the Jamuna's deep waters symbolizes both physical and metaphorical barriers, representing the obstacles the speaker must overcome to reach safety.

Despite their fear and uncertainty, the speaker finds solace in their faith, invoking the name of Ram as a source of protection and guidance. The repetition of the refrain "Ram re Ram! I shall die" serves as a poignant reminder of the speaker's reliance on divine intervention in the face of danger. Through this act of prayer, the speaker finds strength and resolve to persevere on their journey, trusting in the mercy of a higher power.

In conclusion, "Village Songs" by Sarojini Naidu is a poignant exploration of fear, faith, and familial love. Through its lyrical verses and vivid imagery, the poem transports readers to a world where uncertainty and danger lurk around every corner. Yet, amidst the darkness, there shines a glimmer of hope and resilience, embodied by the speaker's unwavering trust in the protective embrace of Ram. Naidu's timeless poem serves as a testament to the enduring power of faith and love to overcome adversity and illuminate even the darkest of paths.

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