Lamentation of a fisherboy

He stands alone
On the surf-beaten shore
In rags, gazing…
His ninah has set out to sea
In the early hour of the dawn.
Laments he, no amma do I have!
Even before I wake to see the break of day,
He’s gone…my ninah to the sea
On his kattumaram
Battling the waves,
Braving the ruthless sea, he’s gone…
What will he return with this time,
His net weighing down with the a harvest catch
Or will it be yet another day we’ll go hungry, his mind queries,
He tosses a coin in the air,
A strong wind blows and screams aloud with joy,
Ah! its heads
My ninah sure will return with his net full
And we’ll make merry again!
His hopes soar high…
As he sights a Kattumaram tossing on the rough waves,
He claps his hands with joy,
Ah! my ninah is coming!
In a flash his destiny changed;
Cruel fate has struck again,
Where is my ninah? rants he in a fury
Have the merciless waves swept him away?
The other fishermen return
Hide not the truth from me, he cries,
A deep gloom fogs his mind
As the fishermen drop down their heads in sorrow,
His heart sinks in despair
As he stands there on the surf-beaten shore gazing…
Gazing…at the empty sea!

Catherine Joseph

Ninah: Father
Amma: Mother
Kattumaram: Country craft