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To The Cuckoo

About the poet:

William Wordsworth is well known for establishing a Romantic movement in the English world with the help of the famous poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the 18th century. The British romantic poet was born on 7th April 1770 in England. His mother died leaving him alone at the age of eight and this experience is seen in his later works. His love for poetry was firmly established after he attended Hawkshead Grammar School. His father too left the world leaving him and his four siblings orphaned. His tour of Europe had a great influence on his poetry and his political sensibilities. He fell in love with a French lady and had a daughter Caroline with her but he couldn’t marry her because of the tensions between England and France at that time.

His notable works include Lyrical Ballads, The prelude, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches, and the love letters of William and Mary Wordsworth.

About the poem:

A quatrain consisting of eight stanzas, To the Cuckoo, is a lyrical pastoral poem with elaborate stanzaic formations. Hence, it can be called an ode to the Cuckoo bird. The poet has directly addressed this poem to the cuckoo and expresses his love, devotion, and yearning to visually glimpse the cuckoo throughout the poem. Here the writer addresses a cuckoo. The poet hears the cuckoo and is in awe and wonder on the off chance that it is something more than a winged animal. His marvel ascends from the memory of his youth when the cuckoo opens up the universe of creative energy to him. The cuckoo bird is an arranged image of innocence, gaiety, purity, and boyhood.

Stanza Wise explanation

O Blithe New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?

Wordsworth welcomes the cuckoo bird with a sense of familiarity, as he says he has heard him before. Calling the cuckoo a “blithe” new-comers alludes to the fact that the cuckoo is free and is not subject to the restrictions of human life. The cuckoo is merry and free from all worldly worries. The first stanza itself sets the tone for the rest of the poem as the poet makes it clear that he is addressing the cuckoo. The cuckoo bird’s voice brings back joyous memories to the poet and thus, he rejoices. The third and the fourth line of the poem are suggestive of the idea that the poet has never actually seen the bird, and knows him only by his voice. He expresses this when he asks the cuckoo whether he should call him a bird or his identity will remain as that of a wandering voice. The third line can also be interpreted as Wordsworth wonders whether calling the cuckoo a bird encompasses his sentiments or if the cuckoo extends beyond his realms of comprehension.

While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear,
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
At once far off, and near.
Wordsworth is lying on the grass when he hears the cuckoo’s call. The effect of echoing has been spoken about in this stanza. The cuckoo’s voice echoes across hills and reaches the poet. This gives the impression of the voice being once close, then again far off. The fact that the poet is lying on the grass while hearing the cuckoo’s song gives the reader an idea of how close and deeply attached to nature the poet is. The wandering cuckoo’s song is everywhere and it submerges the entire milieu in its melody. The poet also reveals to the reader how he discovers that the voice is that of a cuckoo. The twofold shout that he hears is something that is exclusive to the cuckoo, hence the poet reaches his conclusion.

Though babbling only to the Vale,
Of Sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.


Despite singing to the valley, talking about sunshine and flowers, the cuckoo bird’s voice brings back many memories to the poet. The cuckoo birds wander about in the valley that is brimming with flowers and sunshine, thus the bird’s songs too are an ode to these aspects of nature. But, to Wordsworth, these songs have a completely different relevance. They act as an element of nostalgia, transporting the poet to days of his past. He calls those times “visionary hours” as he cannot go back to them in person, and can only envision them from his memory. This indicates that the poet remembers the cuckoo from his childhood, which is alluded to in the first stanza when he says he has heard the cuckoo’s song before, and the cuckoo’s voice now acts as a catalyst in bringing back the poet’s memories of his childhood.

Thrice welcome, the darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery;


The poet welcomes the cuckoo thrice, indicating his excitement and eagerness. The cuckoo is addressed as the darling of the spring he arrives with the genesis of spring, singing about valleys, flowers and other beauties of nature. This is where the poet clearly states that he has never seen the cuckoo in reality. He recognizes him by his voice. Thus, to the poet, the cuckoo is less of an actual living bird and more of a mysterious voice whom he wants to see. The bird has been visually hidden from the poet through all these years, yet his song strikes such emotions in him that the poet remembers the cuckoo bird by his voice.

The same whom in my school-boy days
I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In the bush, and tree, and sky.


In this stanza, the poet is transported to days of his childhood when he used to listen to the cry of the cuckoo and go a thousand ways to place the source of the voice. He left no possible place undiscovered, be it the bushes, the trees, or the sky. The tone of the poet is overtly nostalgic in these lines as he clearly expresses his unfulfilled desire to get a glimpse of the origin of the voice that he remembers from his boyhood. So desperate was the poet to locate the bird that he scourged all possible nooks and crannies in his endeavor to get visual satisfaction. The cuckoo’s voice had fascinated the poet and fired his need to locate the bird so that he could see for himself, the source of such melody.

To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou were still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen.


Wordsworth addresses the bird, telling him how much finding him means to him. The poet wandered constantly, looking for the bird in woods, anywhere, and everywhere. This is an indication of the poet’s dedication towards locating the source of the voice. Despite being unsuccessful in the past, the poet hasn’t given up and says that he still hopes to find the bird. Wordsworth has also confessed his love for the cuckoo bird. This is actually a good indicator of the attachment he had with the cuckoo’s voice as the fact that he has never seen the bird doesn’t deter him from loving the cuckoo. In the last line of the poem, the poet states that he still yearns to find the word and see for himself that there is more to the cuckoo than just his voice. The poet hasn’t lost hope yet and still wants to find his love.

And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.


With this stanza, the poet again travels back to the present and says that he can still listen to the cuckoo, lying on the ground and produce memories of his childhood. This stanza is in actuality a whole sentence, and cannot be interpreted line wise. Wordsworth was a romantic poet, and by labeling his childhood as the “golden time” he confines this to his romantic genre of poetry. Like gold, he implies that his childhood was precious to him and that he wants to relive the moments of his schoolboy days by lying down on the grass and listening to the voice of the cuckoo. The poet is nostalgic and wants to conjure up memories of his childhood by relying on the cuckoo’s cry.

O blessed Bird! the earth we pace

Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!


“Blessed” encompasses the poet’s love and devotion towards the cuckoo. Wordsworth calls the earth “unsubstantial”, that is an unrealistic place of fairies. This could be because the earth has mesmerizing elements of nature, like the sky, woods, rivers, valleys, but at the same time is plagued by restrictions of industrial life which curbs the freedom of an individual. A place with such enchanting contradictions is a place that is fit for the cuckoo. The use of the term “again” alludes to the fact that with the arrival of the cuckoo, the earth takes on such a guise. He poet could also be saying that the earth, that is so versatile, is the perfect dwelling for the cuckoo as he too is full of contradictions. He stirs visions from the poet’s childhood and makes him nostalgic, but is himself never to be seen.

Critical analysis
The poet laureate who launched the romantic age in Britain with themes of nature in his poetry, William Wordsworth’s To the Cuckoo is a classic example of his style of poetry. Consisting of 8 quatrains, this poem is directly addressed to the cuckoo bird. The poet’s tone throughout the poem is reverential and nostalgic. To the cuckoo begins in a very conventional manner, with the poet welcoming the bird, calling him a “blithe new-comer”, hence projecting an image of a carefree, merry bird who is disconnected from the restraints of the human materialistic life, and who revels in his freedom. The poet is happy on seeing the bird, but calls the bird “wandering voice” as he has only heard his voice, but never seen the cuckoo in person. The poet then begins narrating how he came across the cuckoo’s song, while he was lying on the grass. He recognizes the bird by his distinguishable twofold cry which echoes across hills and valleys, submerging the poet in his voice. In the third stanza, the poet confesses how the bird’s songs about flowers and valleys actually transport him to his childhood days and acts as a catalyst in bringing back memories of his past. Then the poet moves on to clearly state that in actuality he has never seen the bird, but has only heard his voice. The cuckoo remains a mystery to the poet. Continuing with the nostalgic tones, the poet narrates how in his school days he used to desperately search for the cuckoo in every possible haunt, be it bushes or trees or the sky. The cuckoo’s melody enthralled the poet and awakened within him a desire to find the source of this enchantment. Wordsworth used to wander aimlessly in search of the cuckoo because he wanted to see his object of devotion with his own eyes. In this stanza itself, the poet declares his love for the cuckoo and gives the reader an insight as to what the bird truly meant to him and how he still hopes and yearns to see the bird. Even though a lot of time has passed since his boyhood, he hasn’t given up and believes that he will succeed in locating his cuckoo bird. The poet travels back to the present with the seventh stanza as he informs the cuckoo bird that he still listens to his voice while lying down on the grass. Using the cuckoo’s voice as a porthole, the poet travels back to the golden days of his childhood. Referring to his childhood as golden, the poet explains how precious his past memories are to him. In the final stanza, the poet States the two contradictory pictures of the earth, as a place filled with restrictions of materialistic life and as a place that is brimming with mystical wonders of nature. Such a versatile place is fit for the cuckoo’s dwelling as it too is mysterious, having such a voice, yet hidden from the poet’s view. Wordsworth’s to the cuckoo is an ode to the mysterious nature of the cuckoo bird, and at the same time, it celebrates the beauty of nature. Wordsworth lives up to his reputation of being a romantic poet as he refers to the days of his childhood as “golden” and “visionary”. Directly addressed to the cuckoo, this poem has undertones of a reference to time as like the bird, its presence can be felt, but it is intangible and beyond the periphery of human vision.


Written by William Wordsworth, To the Cuckoo captures Wordsworth’s love for nature and all the accompanying elements of nature. This is a lyrical pastoral poem that is an ode to the cuckoo bird. The poet describes the significance of the voice of the cuckoo bird in his life. His poem focuses on how the cuckoo bird in spring, a season that welcomes happiness and vitality, enters his life and takes him on a trip down the memory lane of golden times. The poet’s tone is merry and light. Wordsworth also uses imagery and other literary devices to convey the immortality and visionary gleam he feels when he hears the cuckoo.




I Had Gone a Begging

About the poet

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) was a Bengali poet of India born in the city of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). His name is written as Rabindranath Thakur in Indian languages. Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems, he became rapidly known in the West. In fact, his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India’s spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution. A native of Calcutta, India, who wrote in Bengali and often translated his own work into English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 — the first Asian to receive the honor. He wrote poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and songs; promoted reforms in education, aesthetics, and religion; and in his late sixties, he even turned to the visual arts, producing 2,500 paintings and drawings before his death. Although Tagore wrote successfully in all literary genres, he was, first of all, a poet. Tagore’s major works included Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World); and many other literary and artworks.

About the poem:

The 50th poem from his Nobel Prize-winning collection, Gitanjali, I Had Gone a-begging is a poem that imparts a moral value through the narration of an incident. Written in the first person, this poem is directly addressed to the second character in the poem, that is, the man on the chariot. The poem is in the form of Beggar’s monologue as he narrates how due to his own miserly nature he suffered the greatest loss of his life and couldn’t recognize God even as he was standing right in front of him.

Mood, Setting of the poem:

The poem is set in the pathways of a village, which we can gather from the phrase, “I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path”. Since the poem is actually the narration of an incident, and that it has been narrated on a first-person account, the mood of the poem varies. When he discovers the golden chariot riding towards him, he is excited and ecstatic. The king of king’s asking for alms surprises him so that he calls it a “kingly jest”. Finally, when his day is concluding and he checks his bag, the realization hits him and he is filled with remorse for his selfishness and miserly nature.

Stanza wise Annotations:

Stanza 1

I had gone a-begging – I had gone to beg, I was begging

Thy- your

King of all kings- somebody greater even than all the kings, since he traveled in the gorgeous golden chariot

Stanza 2

Methought- I thought

Evil days- days of despondence and poverty

Alms to be given unasked- the need to ask for charity won’t arise

Wealth scattered on all sides in the dust- there will be so much money, that it will be scattered all over the ground

Stanza 3

Thou camest- You came

Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand – All of a sudden, you held out your right hand

What hast thou to give to me?- What do you have to give to me?

Stanza 4

Kingly jest- great joke

Thy- your

Least little grain- smallest little grain

Thee- you

Stanza 5

Wept- cried

Give thee my all- give you my everything

Stanza wise explanation:

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path,

when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance

like a gorgeous dream and I wondered

who was this King of all kings!

The poet begins with a continuation from the title of the poem. We gather from the first line itself that the poet is a beggar. He was on his rounds, collecting alms, going from door to door in the village path. That is when he first sighted the golden chariot in the distance. The splendor of the chariot was such that the poet couldn’t help but wonder that to whom such a grand chariot could belong. He must be a man of immense wealth and power, a man who is above all kings. He refers to him as the king of kings because of these above-mentioned reasons and the usage of this phrase shows how affluent the man looked, at first sight, itself.

My hopes rose high and methought

my evil days were at an end,

and I stood to wait for alms to be given unasked

and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The incoming man’s wealth overwhelmed the poet and his hopes rose that a man with such riches would surely aid him and give him enough money in charity to end his poverty. The beggar stood to wait for the man to get down from his chariot and shower him with riches. Because the man was so powerful, he assumed that he would not even have to beg to him, but would be generously rewarded without even having to ask for it. He imagined a scenario with wealth overflowing such, that it would be scattered all over the ground.

The chariot stopped where I stood.

Thy glance fell on me

and thou camest down with a smile.

I felt that the luck of my life had come at last.

Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand

and say `What hast thou to give to me?’

The poet’s wishes came true when the man’s gorgeous chariot halted right next to him. The king of king’s glance fell on the beggar and he acknowledged him by descending down from his chariot and bestowing upon him a smile. The poet refers to that moment as the luck of his life because he felt that with such wealth, the man was bound to be generous and do enough charity to him to end his pitiable condition forever. But, to the poet’s surprise, the man held out his right hand to the poet and asked him what he had to give to him. This came as a shock to the beggar as the situation that he had imagined, got completely reversed. He had envisaged a scenario where the man would shower him with wealth, but instead, the tables completely turned and the man ended up asking the beggar what he could give him.

Ah, what a kingly jest was it

to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!

I was confused and stood undecided,

and then from my wallet, I slowly took out

the least little grain of corn

and gave it to thee.

The beggar calls the whole scene a ‘kingly jest’. This brings out the irony of the situation as the man who was of the stature of a king, actually asked a beggar for alms. A wealthy man has actually opened up his palm to a beggar to beg! This baffles the beggar and stands dumbly without any definite idea as to what course of action he should resort to. Then, he reluctantly retrieved a little grain of corn from his wallet and gave it to the wealthy man from the chariot. The use of the word “slowly”, is indicative of the fact that the beggar was miserly and it was with great hesitance that he parted with that small grain of corn. It might also be that he could not gauge as to why a man this rich would ask a poor beggar for aid.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end

I emptied my bag on the floor to find

a least little gram of gold among the poor heap.

I bitterly wept and wished

that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

The concluding stanza captures the poet’s initial surprise and then regret when he finds while emptying his sack that a little gram of gold amongst the heap of his day’s collection. And then he realizes that it was no wealthy man, but God himself who had approached him and he was so selfish and miserly that his concern lay only with his own needs. He was reluctant to part with his grain of corn, but still in return of that God repaid him with gold. The beggar wishes that he too had a heart as big as the God’s and he could have gotten himself to part with all of his belongings and completely surrender to God. He achieves a spiritual awakening and realizes the importance of the act of giving unconditionally.

Critical Analysis

I Had Gone a Begging by Rabindranath Tagore is the fiftieth poem from his Nobel Prize-winning collection, Gitanjali. Written in blank verse, this poem is the story of a beggar, who is the poet himself. Narrated in a first-person account, the poet has directly addressed the poem to the King of King’s. He begins by giving voice to his initial selfish and greedy thoughts on seeing the arrival of the golden chariot and then moves on to describing his utter shock when the man alights from the chariot and spreads his hand in front of the beggar, asking him for alms. The irony of the situation both amuses and confuses the beggar, but gathering his wits, he gives one little grain of corn to the man. When he goes back and sees that the little grain of corn has been replaced by an equivalent amount of gold, he is filled with remorse. He laments that had he had a heart as big as the man’s, he would have given away all his belongings to him. This is also when he realizes that the man in the chariot was no commoner, but God himself. This incident incites a spiritual awakening within the poet as he realizes that materialistic things lose all their value when compared to the real riches, which are kindness, generosity, and empathy. Through this poem, Tagore has brought into focus the increase in the importance that is endowed upon materialistic goods and how man is driven, not by love and compassion, but by miserly approach, greed, and never-ending demands. The beggar wished for all his problems to be solved by the charity of the man in the chariot, but without any consideration for the man in the chariot. He is willing to accept the man’s riches, but when it comes to giving him something, he is reluctant and miserly. Man has become such that he puts himself above everything else.


A work of the master, Rabindranath Tagore, I Had Gone a Begging is a poem that imparts a moral lesson through the narration of a poem. A beggar asking for alms from door to door chances upon a wealthy man in a golden chariot and imagines that his charity will change his life. But it so happens that the man reverses the situation by spreading his palms in front of the beggar. The beggar reluctantly parts with his little grain of corn and that night, when he goes home and empties his bag, he realizes that his life has indeed changed forever. He finds a grain of gold, equivalent to the size of the grain of corn that he had given to the King of all kings. That is when he realizes that the man was no commoner but was god himself. It taught him the impermanence of materialistic commodities and the importance of the act of giving and kindness. This poem is an exemplar of how God gives back in the same amount what we give him, but with a much larger heart. It is a tale of the spiritual awakening of a man.




You Who Never Arrived

About the poet:

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke also called Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian writer. Conceived on 4th December 1875, Rilke was the only child of a German-talking family in Prague, then a piece of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was generally perceived as a standout amongst the most expressively extreme German-dialect artists writing in both verse and profoundly expressive exposition. In 1897, Rilke went to Russia, which denoted the genuine start of his initial works. His first extraordinary work, Das Stunden Buch (The Book of Hours), showed up in 1905. But Paris would serve as the geographic focus of his life, where he first started to add to another style of expressive verse, affected by the visual expressions. Rilke communicated thoughts with “physical instead of scholarly images. Rilke thinks about the human regarding the non-human, of what he calls Things (Dinge).” Besides this system, the other imperative part of Rilke’s compositions was the advancement of his reasoning, which came to a peak in Duineser Elegien ( Duino Elegies ) and Die Sonette an Orpheus (Sonnets to Orpheus). Dismissing the Catholic convictions of his guardians and additionally Christianity by and large, the writer endeavored for the duration of his life to accommodate magnificence and enduring, life and demise, into single reasoning. His reputation has consistently grown since his passing away on December 29, 1926, and he is now viewed as an expert of verse.

About the poem:

You Who Never Arrived is a poem of Rilke that is based upon his personal view that a man never finds his one true love in his lifetime. He talks about his Beloved who is within him, but constantly eludes him. Despite his longing for her, he has accepted the fact that he will never find her. In the conclusion of the poem, he says that he knows that his Beloved is out there, somewhere looking for him just the way he is looking for her. But, every time fate intercepts in such a manner that every time they come tantalizingly close to each other, he loses her.

Mood, Setting of the poem:

The mood of the poet is one where he longs for his Beloved but has also accepted the fact that she is forever going to remain elusive to him. He mourns that despite being so close to her he still can’t meet her. The poet is somber as he knows that his want is going to remain unfulfilled. He has accepted his fate but he still dreams about his Beloved as he believes that she is out there, somewhere.

Stanza wise annotations:

Stanza 1

Beloved- Loved one

A surging wave of the next moment- Gushing force of the upcoming moment

Immense images in me- massive pictures drawn within me

Pulsing- alive

The life of the gods- an eternal, immortal living, larger than life

Unsuspected- unforeseen

Elude- escape from me

Stanza 2

Pensive- introspective, lost in deep thoughts

Chanced upon- happened to be upon

Dizzy with your presence- not yet over your presence

Too-sudden- abrupt

Stanza wise explanation:

Stanza 1

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me-the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

Rilke addresses this poem to his beloved. He laments the fact that his Beloved is elusive and he wonders what he could ever do catch her. The poet muses on all the occasions upon which he and his beloved never met, but nevertheless, he expresses his desire to meet her and recounts occasions when he tried to please her so that she would finally appear to him. He says his love was lost from the start. This tells us that he has never met his lover thus; it is not a case of lost and found, but one of hiding and seek where he is continuously trying to find his beloved. Personally, the poet doesn’t know his beloved that well, since he doesn’t know what songs will please her. This tells the reader that the poet doesn’t know about the personal interests of his beloved. So unsuccessful he has been in finding her that the poet has stopped trying to look for her in the ever-changing times.  Everything that the poet is made up of, the whole world of landscapes, cities, and towers that lie within him mean nothing but his Beloved. He says that his elusive Beloved is what his soul is constructed of. Her presence inside him is so powerful that it gives rise to whole superstructures within him. She makes his world and fills it to the brim with power, such that it is like a powerful land that is alive with the life of the gods; indicating eternality and immortality.

Stanza 2:

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

Rilke takes the second stanza to elucidate upon his Beloved’s elusive nature. He analogizes her with gardens that he has gazed at with longing, but has never been able to own them. Equating her with a garden projects his Beloved as a picture of peace, tranquillity, and beauty. Described as the open window of a country house, his Beloved is available but unapproachable. She is very close to him, lost in her own musings, desires to meet him, but steps back in the very last moment. Her evasive nature makes it impossible to track her. The poet realizes while walking on unexpected streets that his Beloved has just walked upon the same path, but he has again missed her by a heartbeat. Even when the poet walks into shops and notices the mirrors, you know that they viewed his Beloved just before reflecting back on his image. His reflection appears too sudden, too abrupt, like it doesn’t belong alone, but is complete with his Beloved who has again vanished even after coming this tantalizingly close. In conclusion, the poet is musing to himself that perhaps the same voice speaks within them and tells them the same things, perhaps they both are looking for each other and running around in circles, out of reach of the other. Despite the echo within them being the same, they are not together and remain separate and perennially shifty.

Critical Analysis:

Rilke’s You Who Never Arrived is a poem of two stanzas that deals with his mystical longing for glimpses of his elusive Beloved. The poet here is not shown to be struggling to find his one true love but has accepted the fact that Beloved will forever remain tantalizingly close, but just out of his reach. The poet says that his Beloved was lost even before the start. This is indicative of the fact that he has never met her. But he continues by saying that she resides within him and has constructed a whole world, complete with landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, in his soul. He equalizes her with his soul and credits the power that pulses within him, making him alive, to her. But, he lives with the longing to someday meet her, yet accepting the fact that she is forever going to elude him and that he will never find her in reality. This is in line with Rilke’s belief that a man never finds his soul-mate or one true love in his lifetime. The poet can feel her presence everywhere he goes and is of the belief that every step that he takes, he is actually tracing her footsteps. Feeling her presence in mirrors in shops, on the streets, all point towards this. It can be deduced that such an ideal Beloved exists, not in reality, but within the poet himself. Yet, the poet wants to live in an illusion of knowing that his Beloved is out there, somewhere, but he will never find her. The poets Beloved exists more in fantasy than in reality. This is what makes her this ideal. “Who knows? Perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us, yesterday, separate, in the evening… “, this phrase tells us that the poet might actually believe that his beloved lives within him as the same voice echoes within them at the same time. They are together, yet they are not. The poet laments the fact that he doesn’t even have a lost love that he can mourn because he has never met his Beloved to experience real love blossoming within them. The poet chooses to live with the phantasm of lost love than to not dream at all.

Poetic Devices


“You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house”

The poet has used gardens and an open window of a country house as a metaphor for his Beloved. He looks at exotic, beautiful gardens with longing, but can’t acquire them. This goes to show that his Beloved has the same ethereal air about her, like the gardens, and symbolizes peace, tranquillity, and beauty. Her comparison with an open window of a country house shows how inviting, yet unapproachable she is.


“And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.”

The mirrors in the shops are attributed to the human characteristics of being dizzy and startled. This has been done to show the sudden disappearance of the poet’s Beloved on his presence leaves the mirrors too disturbed and they haven’t yet gotten over the image of the poet’s beloved to actually try and adjust to the poet’s image.


All the immense
images in me-the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

The poet tries to project a picture of his vast soul by citing cities, bridges, and landscapes. He says that everything that is within him rises to mean her, his Beloved. Her presence within him makes him feel alive, eternal, and immortal like he harbors the life of Gods within him. This exaggeration has been done to create a larger than life picture of his Beloved and conveys to the reader what she means to him.


The writing of You Who Never Arrived by Rilke is such that it portrays the poet’s lost and scattered thoughts. It is an exemplar of Rilke’s versatility as a poet as his construction of sentences and is such that the reader is made of his predicament of knowing that his Beloved is out there but is inaccessible to him. He has accepted the bitter fact that he will never be able to meet her, but will continue being tormented by her incidental closeness. He laments it that he every time misses her in spite of coming so close to her. His use of metaphors establishes that his Beloved is someone beautiful with tranquillity, but is unapproachable. He concludes on the note that his Beloved is looking for him with the same desperation that he has been searching for her. Maybe the poet knows that his Beloved is nowhere, but within himself, but he prefers to harbor the fantasy that she too is on the lookout for him.

Labourers and lockdown

Stained by hunger,

The splash of virus dried out to an insignificant dot on their white khadi

They can’t have more, their stomach is full— full of hunger

Their bodies are not driven by food,

Their legs tread hearing stomach’s rumble

The people crossed gutters, jumped over broken roads

The pits in the broken road are now cemented, 

Cemented by starvation,

Cemented by hopes,

Cemented by slippers that have lost the feet on which they were worn.

They who went out in the search of bread have lost their breaths

Their breathless bodies demand an answer,

An answer for their hunger

An answer for their treads,

And answer for which they had lost their breaths.

Reach out to me on instagram @ekanika_shah

Box of rosEs

She is a box of roses

Wrapped in coffee stained newspapers

That you press under cups

Every time they sail with the wind

To hide the stories of abuse they print.

Every word your mouth exhales is capsuled in hate.

That fill her pockets so heavily

That she drowned into nothingness.

She looks at the stars and wishes them to consume her

She looks at her reflection and is surrounded by

Filters to filter out 

what they reject to call beauty.

Those crystals of herself, strained and censored

Dangle like yellow autumn leaves separating from a tree

That descend to the ground, 

dusted with self doubt. 

But when the night shines

and the piercing city lights are dim,

I will show you the brightness you carry within.

Reach out to me on instagram @ekanika_shah

Father— poetry

Father, the fire is now gone
and your dreams, now extinguished
crippled under the ire of fire.
let alone the home, there isn’t even the house.
the words, they refuse to come out of my  mouth.
Get up father, 
your lolled head is where all my dreams are kept.
Look father, I’ve been a good girl.
Everyone’s here to meet you,
all the preparations done only for you!
For you is the ceremony, 
for you is the new house a bustling, and the people, soon disappearing.
Look father, father, father!
The fire, it melted my shield, 
My father does not hear me.
Hos breath quintened forever ,
His body stilled like never.
The unsolicited questioning eyes surround me,
Like waves in a sea
But I, I trudge to the crematory
Yet another but intentional fire giving a final end to his story.

Reach out to me on instagram @ekanika_shah

Mothers Day poetry

I walked into my garden

The soil appeared to be scraps of papers sewn together disproportionately,

Rain came in like delayed parcels

I noticed the rose, dripping water off it’s petals

drop by drop and then it all— like your love

The sky descended down to me,

Solid as a glass, blue as a sea

I wiped off the clouds,

and looked at heaven,

And oh, it looked like you.

-ekanika shah

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Her dreams— poetry

She is a living art 

Too real to be called fiction,

Too fictitious to be called real.

Her dreams are shades of red,

Inside her body like 

blood sandwiched between flesh.

She talks to the polka-dotted curtains that hang in the lobby, 

like forgotten art, in a room decorated with false-ceilings.

She smells of flowers

Her soul— a basket full of baked stars,

Forgotten amidsts a sky, 

dotted with scraps of papers—

 that knit fibres of theories.

She carries her stories, 

While they carry legends of inventions and discoveries.

She is the boiling milk,

Taken off the stove,

And mixed with cinnamon

To loose it’s colour, forever.

-ekanika shah.

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For george floYd

How is it I trigger your vision so much

That you become a thunderstorm 

And press against my chest until I can’t breathe.

I dismantle into the soil 

and you rain upon me 

suffocating my pores.

I am not fierce but 

I resent with the subtle smell of petrichor.

Why is it you want me to dilute my skin

and pour myself into your white ceramic cups

when my earthen pots are just decorated enough.

How is it I am not a ‘ray’ of hope

But a tunnel of darkness.

I am the metaphors that rest upon your tongue

I want to be more— more than your diction

I want to be a human. 

Why is it you want me to become you

And forget everything we’ve been through.

I am the prequel, the story and the sequel

I was exhaled by the cosmos, 

I refuse to be altered by an inch.

ekanika shah.

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A lonely world and other poems— book review

“A lonely world and other poems”, by Himanshu Goel is a perfect combination of inclusions and exclusions, of sadness mingling with hope, of a longing and rejection of home.

 It beautifully lays down the extraordinary situations in the life of every ordinary human. It swiftly blends the tales of being compelled into loneliness to wanting, yet rejecting to come out of it at the same time. 

I confess, it is one of the most relatable and captivating poetry compilations. The compilation is a lot of things—home, hope, severity and rivety. It lays naked the fact how the world is full of happy people with festered souls. You may go into a self-introspection mode by the end of this beauty. Ever wondered, how we let things happen, see distances increase and still lie back in the fear of being vulnerable?

It would open you to the strangeness of silently seeing yourself become someone you don’t want to and do nothing about it. It’s a realisation that the loneliness trapped inside of you is beautifully tragic. You will experience being a passionate person lost into a labyrinth that leads no where. The hard-hitting end is captivatingly painful. It’s the place where you’ll find imperfections being glorified better than beauty, society being questioned so blatantly and yet so poetically.

Get it now from Amazon!