How can I explain the meaning of "Song of a Dream" by Sarojini Naidu?

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Vikash Lata eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem illustrates the poet’s longing to dwell in an idyllic place marked by the absence of any evil or vice. Such a place can exist only in one’s dreams or imagination. So, she expresses her desire in the form of a dream and describes the idealized place as the “magical wood in the land of sleep.”

In the first seven lines, the Indian poet, Sarojini Naidu, describes “the magical wood” she dreams of. In her imaginative world, the abstract values and ideas of truth, love and peace are embodied in tangible forms of nature. They are no more just abstract ideas, but are discernible and palpable objects with proper shape and size. In the poet’s dream, “Truth” has transformed into singing birds, “Love” into glowing stars and “Peace” into flowing streams.

Consider these lines that describe the poet’s dream using beautiful metaphors:

And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,
And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,
And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed...

In the second stanza, we see the poet perceive the abstract ideas of love, truth and peace through her senses. In her dream, the stars are the embodiment of the “spirits of Love” that “gather and gleam round” her “delicate youth.” Similarly, “Truth” has taken the form of living birds. The poet could hear the song of the “spirits of Truth.” Then, she bends low to “quench” her thirst from the streams that are but “the spirits of Peace.”

So, we see that through her brilliant imagination, Naidu lends tangibility to abstract ideas. A reader enjoys the walk through the paradisiacal world as imagined by the poet.

The poem shouldn’t, however, be read merely as an expression of a random dream or thought. It can also be interpreted as the poet’s vision for her motherland. In 1905, when the poem first appeared in the collection of songs and poems published as The Golden Threshold, India was a British colony. Naidu was not only a poet but also an active participant in the Indian Freedom Movement.

Therefore, the place imagined in the poem can also be described as Naidu’s vision of India. She wants to dwell in an India that is ruled by the ideals of love, peace and truth, and that's free from hatred, oppression and violence. 

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Song of a Dream" by Saronjini Naidu is a poem in which the speaker tells the reader about a dream where she attained perfect peace.  The speaker is alone in her dream at first.  That doesn't seem to be a problem because the magic of the dream world that she is in greets her with three spirits.  Those spirits are Truth, Love, and Peace.  Those spirits aren't necessarily people, because the narrator says that they are birds, stars, and streams, but it is clear that those natural elements interact with the speaker in a very personal way.  They gather around her and do things like sing to her.

The poem repeats the word magical several times, which indicates to the reader that the speaker's serene sleep world is otherworldly.  It's not only a physically restorative sleep, but a spiritually restorative sleep as well.  Sounds nice.