It started as a pilgrimage
Exalting minds and making all
The burdens light, The second stage
Explored but did not test the call.
The sun beat down to match our rage.
The poet begins by stating that their journey started as a pilgrimage with their minds exalting and their minds forgetting every worry in the world. The second stage of the journey proved to be a little testing but could not match their enthusiasm while the sun beat down on them. The sun signifies the obstacles that started coming across their way.
We stood it very well, I thought,
Observed and put down copious notes
On things the peasants sold and bought
The way of serpents and of goats.
Three cities where a sage had taught
The poet thought they endured the sun very well which means that they successfully overcame the wrath of the Sun. The poet observed things and put down a lot of notes on things the peasants sold and bought and the way of serpents and goats. He also wrote about the three cities where a sage had taught.
But when the differences arose
On how to cross a desert patch,
We lost a friend whose stylish prose
Was quite the best of all our batch.
A shadow falls on us and grows.
However, differences arose amongst the group on how to deal with a problem indicated by how they would cross a desert patch. They lost a friend whose manner of writing was the best of their batch. Problems begin to arise in their group and a shadow starts falling on them and it keeps growing.
Another phase was reached when we
Were twice attacked, and lost our way.
A section claimed its liberty
To leave the group. I tried to pray.
Our leader said he smelt the sea.
The journey becomes riddled with difficulties evident in the manner in which they were attacked twice and they lost their way. A section of the group claimed its liberty to leave the group. The poet starts praying and the leader said that he could smell the sea.
We noticed nothing as we went,
A straggling crowd of little hope,
Ignoring what the thunder meant,
Deprived of common needs like soap.
Some were broken, some merely bent.
They noticed nothing as they went which paints an eerie disturbing picture. They were like a straggling crowd with little hope, ignoring the thunder and deprived of common necessities like soap. Some of them broken and some merely bent with exhaustion.
When, finally, we reached the place ,
We hardly know why we were there.
The trip had darkened every face,
Our deeds were neither great nor rare.
Home is where we have to gather grace.
When they finally reached the place they hardly knew why they were there. The trip had taken a toll on every one of them. Their deeds were neither great nor rare. Home is where they would have to find grace and salvation.
This entire poem could be read as the struggle of India’s Independence and the section which claimed its liberty could signify Pakistan which separated from India.