Fisherman Mourned By His Wife – Patrick Fernando

Patrick Fernando’s Fisherman Mourned By His Wife Summary and Analysis

Fisherman Mourned By His Wife Poem

When you were not quite thirty and the sun
had not tanned you into old-boat brown
when you were not quite thirty and had not begun
to be embittered like the rest, nor grown
obsessed with death, then you would come
hot with continence upon the sea
chaste as gull flying pointed home
in haste to be with me !

Now that, being dead you are beyond detection,
and I need not be discreet , let us confess
it was not love that married us nor affection,
but elders’ persuasion, not even loneliness,
recall how first you were so impatient and afraid,
my eyes were open in the dark unlike in love,
trembling, lest in fear, you would let me go a maid,
trembling, on the other hand for my virginity.

Three months the monsoon thrashed the sea,
and you remained at home; the sky cracked like a shell
in thunder, and the rain broke through .
at last when pouring ceased and the storm winds fell,
when gulls returned new plumed, and wild,
when in our wind-torn flamboyant new buds broke,
I was with child.

My face was wan while telling you and voice fell low,
and you seemed full of guilt and not to know
whether to repent or rejoice over the situation.
You nodded at the ground and went to sea.
But soon I was to you more than God or temptation,
and so were you to me.

Men come and go, some say they understand.
Our children weep, the youngest think you’re fast asleep;
theirs is fear and wonderment.
You had grown familiar as my hand,
that I cannot with simple grief assuage dismemberment.

Outside the wind despoils of leaf
trees that it used to nurse;
once more the flamboyant is torn,
the sky cracks like a shell again,
so someone practical has gone
to make them bring the hearse
before the rain.

Fisherman Mourned By His Wife Tamil Explanation

Details

Era :Sri Lankan 20th century
Category: soliloquy
Kind: apostrophe
Language: The language is simple and figurative. It is powerful and expressive.
Subject-Matter: The soliloquy of a wife over the death of her husband

MAIN THEME:

Uncertainty of a fisherman’s life at sea

OTHER THEMES

Misery of the fisheries life
Fate of a fisherman’s wife
Reality of married life

INCIDENT

The Incident is a sudden death of a fisherman, a common incident during the time when there were no advanced technologies in fisheries industry in Sir Lanka. It describes the mentality of the widowed wife of the dead husband. The whole poem is a confession of the bereaved wife and also an addressing to her dead husband.

Retrospection

The first verse is retrospection. The wife recalls the early years of her married life, the youthfulness of her husband and his sentiments. It also denotes the misery of the fisheries life. The young man was cheerful as he had had no experience of the misery of life. She recollects the memories of a past which was once full of nightmares and once full of
sweet dreams.
“Recall how first you were so impatient and afraid,
my eyes were open in the dark unlike in love,”

Symbols:
The gull: – chastity.
The gull is a bird. Birds select their partners at their young age and live together till the end of their life. They never mate with birds other than their partners. The husband is compared to a gull as he did not wish for polygamy.

Comparison

Simile
like the rest
chaste as gull flying pointed home
the sky cracked like a shell

Comparative Degree
I was to you more than God or temptation, and so were you to me.

Metaphor: dismemberment

Repetition
trembling, lest in fear, you would let me go a maid,
trembling, on the other hand for my virginity.

Personification
“The monsoon thrashed the sea”
“Outside the wind despoils of leaf”

Implications
“Once more the flamboyant is torn,”:- There’s a change once again
“The sky cracks like a shell again,”:- a great change is imminent.
Here the poet uses symbols to denote the new change in their life.
“Men come and go,”
This line says that people are born into this world and die
“………….come hot with continence”
This implies sex which arises out of youthfulness and the fresh touch of marriage.
“………pointed home,”
The fresh husband comes directly home being attracted by his fresh bride.
Shifting from past to present
In the last verse the protagonist again comes back o the present.

Paraphrase

When you were quite young and had no life experience with the rough fisheries life, and had not begun to experience the misery of life as the older people, and not being embittered with life and not always thinking of death, you came back home from your sea journey with your controlled desires in haste to have sex with me. Your chastity now
cannot be checked because you are dead. Now I needn’t be careful of expressing my inner feelings.

We must confess. We did not get married as a result of love nor had we any affection. We got married on the persuasion of our elders. I did not want to get married as I did not have any feeling of loneliness. Recall our honeymoon day, the first night of our married life. On that night you were impatient to have the novel experience but afraid at its unfamiliarity. I was with open eyes in the dark awaiting your action. I did not have any sexual feeling at that moment but was trembling in fear on two reasons: I was doubtful whether you would succeed on your first night.

And on the other hand I was sorry because I would no longer be a virgin after this night. The rainy season began and there was high tide and the sea became rough so you didn’t go to sea. You remained at home and continuously had sex with me. There was lightning and thunder and heavy rains continued to fall. When the high tide was over, there was an
apparent change in the weather. The gulls returned to the sea with new feathers. They were wild because they were without prey during the rainy season. The flamboyant which had been torn by the wind, bore new buds.

There was a visible change and freshness everywhere in the environment. There was a new change in our life, too: I had become pregnant. When I told you of the new change, my face was pale and the voice became low. And you had a look of guilt and seemed to be in a dilemma whether to repent or rejoice over the situation. You didn’t talk but nodded at the ground and went to sea as usual. And before long a strong bond grew between the two of us which led to a great affection. People are born into this world and die.

Some elderly people talk about the uncertainty of life. Our children are weeping over their father’s death. The youngest one is unable to understand anything. It thinks its father is fast asleep. The y wonder and fear over the sudden incident. Throughout the long period of our married life, you had grown familiar to me like my hand. So merely by grieving I cannot mitigate the pain of your bereavement. The leaves which the tree used to nurse are shed by the wind. Once again the flamboyant tree is torn. The lightning appears again. While the others are weeping a person who understood the situation has gone to bring the hearse because the burial should be done before the rainfall.

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