Poem Coromandel Fishers—Summary and Critical Analysis

Introduction of the Poem: 

The poem entitled Coromandel Fishers is about the fishermen of Coromandel Coast, the east coast of India from Cape Comorin to Nellore. The word Coromandale is a slight corrupt form of Choramandala, or the realm of Chora, which is the Tamil form of the title of Chola dynasty. Because of being endowed with the gift of poetic utterance , the fisherman may well sing a song of this kind not only on the Coromandel coast , but wherever they go down to the sea in boats to wrestle , for their living , with the wind of wave.

Poem Coromandel Fishers—Summary and Critical Analysis
Poem Coromandel Fishers—Summary and Critical Analysis 

In the present poem, the poetess describes the strugglesome life of the fishermen which is always full of dangers. It is their daily routine that with dawn, they get ready to earn their living by catching fish in the sea. They do not fear of the violent sea waves and the storms rising in the sea. Dauntlessly they wrestle with the swelling waves which are ever roaring to swallow them. Though the waves of sea are their companions, they make fatal mischief and the fishermen become the victim of this mischief. So, the dangers for their life are always hovering over their heads. Their determination and courage provoke them to row to the utmost bound of the horizon.

Summary of the Poem: 

Stanza 1:

On hearing the call of dawn, the fishermen arise. The sky remains in darkness for a long time, so it pines for the brightness. With the dawn the whole sky is filled with brightness. The sky welcomes the dawn light. The winds which are blowing throughout night remain silent in the motherly arms of dawn like a child. The fishermen put themselves in their daily routine. They start gathering their nets from the shore and set their rafts free. After preparing themselves, the sons of the sea (the fishermen) set out to catch the fish which leap in the sea.

Stanza 2:

When the fishermen hear the call of dawn, they do not make any delay in setting about to the sea for catching the fish. They hasten away in the way where the sea-gull calls them. They regard the sea their mother, the cloud their brother, and the waves their comrades. The rising and falling sea-waves are ever tossing them, but they face them fearlessly. They do not care of their lives. Even at the sunset, they have no fear of drowning because they think that the sea-god will protect them from the stormy sea waves and will hide them in his breast. They believe the sea-god controls the storms rising in the sea.

Stanza 3:

The fishermen live in serene atmosphere. Their dwelling places are surrounded with coconut and mango trees. They feel sweet smell of these trees. There always remains shade. The particles of sands at the sea-shore shine with the bright rays of the full moon and this sight is pleasant and worth seeing. Because of being spacious place, the voices seem to be coming from great distance and they grow dim. The fishermen love this atmosphere. The sea waves rise high and sprinkle the water in drops over the fishermen. They feel great joy when these water drops kiss their body. The wild sea-waves dance which delight them. They are determined to row to the utmost bound of the horizon where the low sky meets the sea.

Critical Analysis of the Poem:


The poem entitled Coromandel Fishers is one of the poems in the "Folk-Songs" section of "The Golden Threshold". This poem is about the fishermen of Coromandel Coast, the east coast of India from Cape Comorin to Nellore. The word "Coromandel" is a corruption from Choramandala or the Realm of Chora, which is the Tamil form of the title of the Chola dynasty. In this poem the poetess has vividly described the life of fishermen. She has depicted the serene and natural atmosphere of their living place. She has showed the cheerful nature of the fishermen. In the present poem she puts some real facts related to the life of the fishermen as their lives are full of dangers and risks. They regard the sea their playground where they earn their living, hence their courage never creates the feelings of terror and awe in their heart. Due to being the men of courageous nature, they enjoy in the playground of the sea.

Close Affinity with Nature:

Coromandel Fishers are the kins of nature. Nurtured from birth to death in the midst of natural surroundings they treat various objects of nature as their nearest relatives.

"The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother,
The waves are our comrades all."

The existence is unimaginable without nature:

"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."

Form of the Poem:

The poem has its parallel in John Masefield's Sea-Fever and is reminiscent of it, particularly in the use of phrases like the "leaping wealth", "sea-gull's call", "the kiss of the spray" and "the wild foam's glee". The poem is written in anapestic lines of seven feet. The first foot is either monosyllabic (one stressed syllable) or an iambic. Anapest is substituted by iambic here and there by the much rarer substitution of a trochee (pray to) "All night" is almost certainly a spondee and "all" is a syllable that is long by nature and its meaning demands a stress.

Style and Language:

The poetess has used impressive language. There is great simplicity of language. Every word has an enchanted beauty. The poem is not free from figurative language. The poetess has used the figures of speech simile, metaphor and personification.

1. "Like a child that has cried all night."         (Simile)  

2. "The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn."         (Personification)

3. "Leaping wealth of tide."            (Metaphor)   

"Verge" is used for extreme edge or border; it is often used metaphorically, as "on the verge of disaster". "Verge" is used by Tennyson for horizon in one of his finest metaphors:

"And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of the eternal day."         (In Memoriam)

The word Catamaran is wrongly accented by the Europeans on the last syllable; it is correctly stressed in the poem.

Saurabh Gupta

My name is Saurabh Gupta. I have designed this blog to help those students and people who are greatly interested to get knowledge about English Literature. This blog provides precious knowledge and information about English Literature and Criticism.

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