The poem Village Song deals with the traditional Indian village living style and the attachment of a young girl to her family. Sarojini Naidu beautifully illustrate the story of a village girl who has gone to fetch water far away from her home, and the fear created in her mind when it’s dark mixed with the cries of owl and crane birds.
There is another poem by Sarojini Naidu on the similar title “Village Song” – (HONEY, child, honey, child, whither…….)
Read it’s summary : “Village Song“
Sarojini Naidu is known as “The Nightingale of India” because of her mesmerizing poetry. Let’s go straight to the line by line meaning of the poem Village song.
Even today one of the back-breaking chores of village women in India and some other country is the fetching water from long distances. Here poet talks about such a situation where a girl has gone to fetch water far away to a river.
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?
The girl is at river side for drawing water, there are many pitches with her. “Full are my pitches and far to carry” – She tells she has to walk long distance carrying the water filled pitches to reach her house. Then she complaints to self why she is attracted by the song of boatmen. The time is almost evening, it’s dark everywhere.
Swiftly the shadows of night are falling,
Hear, O hear, is the white crane calling,
Is it the wild owl’s cry?
It’s getting night very fast, she can hear the white crane bird is crying, then she hears the crying sounds of owl these entire situation make her feel more fear.
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.
There were no moonlight to pay her a way to home, even a tender moonbeam could give her a relief from the fear. As she lives in a village the footpath is not much clean and plane, thus she fears if the serpent should bite her or evil spirit should haunt her. In deep fear she calls her God.. 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 …
In the above lines we can see her thoughts extends from herself to her home. Her mind weeps thinking of her mother and brother. She imagines her brother will murmur saying ” Why does she linger?” and her mother will weep looking far for her daughter, saying ” O safe may the great gods bring her – The Jamuna’s water are deep”. The Jamuna River is one of the three main rivers of Bangladesh where our poet Sarojini Naidu was born. Its water rush by so quickly, and it’s getting dark so thickly as 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.
Her mind comes back to think self. She weeps thinking what will betide (happen) her if the storm breaks. When it’s lighting where should she hide?… Her thoughts touch to the roof, fear increases. She calls her god again and again to protect her footsteps and guide her to reach her home.