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The poem Wandering Singers by Sarojini Naidu is about a group of people who keep wandering from villages to towns and from towns to forests. While on the way, they keep singing.
According to the poet, these wandering singers do not have any hopes or desires. They go where the wind goes. In other words, they seem to either nomads or some nature lovers who are Romantic and do not have any love for materialistic things. Instead, they love following the nature.
Where the voice of the wind calls our wandering feet, Through echoing forest and echoing street, With lutes in our hands ever-singing we roam, All men are our kindred, the world is our home.
In the first stanza, the wandering singers say that they roam where the voice of the wind calls their feet. The word wind is symbolic here. It perhaps refer to changing seasons or even the changing times. Calling the wandering feet means asking them to accompany it (the wind). In other words, they wander wherever the wind goes.
The wandering singers travel through the echoing forest and the echoing street with lutes in their hands and always keep singing. Here, echoing forest mean the villages which are full of hustle and bustle. Similarly, echoing street refers to the cities which are again full of life.
According to the wandering singer, all the humans on earth are their family and the whole world is their home. In other words, they do not have a family of their own or even a home. They rather consider themselves to be the citizen of the world.
Our lays are of cities whose lustre is shed, The laughter and beauty of women long dead; The sword of old battles, the crown of old kings, And happy and simple and sorrowful things.
In this stanza, the wandering singers tell us what they exactly sing about. According to them, their lays (songs) are of cities whose lustre i.e. glory is shed i.e. gone. They also sing of laughter and beauty (i.e. cheerful life) of women who died long ago.
They sing of sword of old battles (i.e. wars and battles) and also the crown of the old kings (i.e. kings, their rule and their time). And also, they sing of happy (joyful), simple and even sorrowful things which means they sing of past as well as of present. They sing of those who are gone long ago and also of the present.
What hope shall we gather, what dreams shall we sow? Where the wind calls our wandering footsteps we go. No love bids us tarry, no joy bids us wait: The voice of the wind is the voice of our fate.
The wandering singers then raise a rhetorical question. They wonder what hope and dreams they should have. Hope and dreams are for those who think of achieving something (worldly things). But they (wandering singers) do not have any desire. Hence they do not have dreams.
They go wherever the wind goes. No love bids them tarry i.e. the love never leaves them. They always feel loved by the nature. And no joy bids them wait i.e. the joy never makes them for it. They always enjoy because the voice of the wind is the voice of their fate i.e. the fate of the wind is their fate as well.
Read important questions and answers of this poem.