Coromandel fishers refer to the fishermen on the Coromandel Coast south of India.

Stanza 1 – Getting Ready to the Sea

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!

Meaning

  • Rise, brothers, rise – Fishermen call their fellow-men to get ready to go to the sea.
  • The wakening skies – The early morning sky is compared to someone who is waking up from sleep. Metaphor/Personification
  • 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,
  • Catamarans – Fishing boats
  • Tide – Waves
  • Leaping wealth of the tide – Fishes are the leaping wealth of the tide.
  • We are the kings of the sea – King rules and takes care of his subjects. Similarly, the fishermen

Paraphrase

Get ready, brothers, get ready. The morning sky is praying to the Sun. Like a child that has been crying all night, the wind is now sleeping. Come, let’s collect our fishing nets and free the boats to catch fish from the sea. We are the kings of the sea.

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the caller ask his brothers to do?
  2. What is the wind compared to?
  3. What is the ‘leaping wealth of the tide?’
  4. In what sense are the fishermen the ‘kings of the sea?’
    Like kings who have both power to rule and responsibility to take care, the Coromandel fishers too have their own power to rule the sea they go for fishing and their responsibility to take care of the mother-sea.
  5. Pick out the poetic devices.
    1. Simile – The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
  6. What is the Rhyme scheme?
    ABAB.




Stanza 2 – Fishing late night

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.

Meaning

  • Hasten – Hurry away
  • Track of the seagull’s call –
  • Comrades – Fellow workers; colleagues
  • Toss – Row the boat
  • At the fall of the sun – At night
  • Where the hand of the sea-god drives – When the boats lose control and track in a storm.

Paraphrase

Let’s move fast and follow the track of the seagulls. The sea is our mother. cloud our brother and the waves are our companions. Even if we are still far away from the shore, we do not fear anything because we are protected by the Sea God who has the power to control the storms.

Questions & Answers

  1. What is the track of a sea-gull’s call? Why should the fishermen follow this track?
  2. What brotherly connections do you find between the fishermen and the clouds?
  3. For the fishermen, being on the sea is like being in their family. How does the poet portray this?
  4. Why are the Coromandel fishers not scared of fishing late in dark?
  5. Who holds the storm by the hair?
  6. Literary devices:
    1. Metaphor – The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all.
    2. Alliteration – He who holds (H is repeated)




Stanza 3 – No staying back!

Sweet is the shade of the coconut 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.

Meaning

  • Verge – End; border
  • Full o’ the moon – The full moon
  • The low sky – The horizon
  • Where the low sky mates with the sea – The horizon; the line of the sea where sky comes down to kiss the sea. Here the sky and sea are presented as lovers.
  • Mate – (1) Play (2) Friend

Paraphrase

Although resting under the coconut trees is comfortable, although the sweet smell of the mangoes is wonderful, although the time spend under the full moon with the sweet sound of our dear ones, yet, we are not going to stay here in our houses. We are going to the horizon where the sea and sky meet and play.

Questions & Answers

  1. How and when does coconut shade appear sweet to the fishermen?
    With their shade falling on the hot sand, the coconut trees cool the sand. After a day’s horrible work, the fishermen return and take rest under these coconut trees.
  2. What makes the sands appear sweet to the fishermen?
  3. What are the voices that the fishermen love?
  4. When does the shore (sands) look sweet (beautiful)? How is it sweet for the fishermen?
  5. Who is the speaker of the poem?




Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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