Tag Archives: Poetry



About the Poet:

Berton Braley, an American poet, inherited writing skills from his father, who died when he was seven. He began writing at an early age of eleven when his fairy tale got printed by a small publication. He is one of the most-read American poets of his era with a collection of 11,000 written verses and many short stories. His attitude of being optimistic at all times distinguished him from others. He is added to the lost American author’s list. A reason for this is that he was a contemporary of Frost and thus, got easily lost and overshadowed by Frost’s works. His poems are straightforward and easy to understand and this might also be the reason for the lost interest in his poetry which lacked ambiguity, unlike his contemporary poets. His poets try to touch many themes of capitalistic society, success, love, passion, values, morals, which is a reason his works are not taught in American schools.


Stanza 4

It’s going onward despite the defeat,
And fighting staunchly, but keeping sweet;
It’s being clean and it’s playing fair,
It’s laughing lightly at Dame Despair.

Somewhat a continuation of the last stanza, this stanza says that even if one fails, the real success lies in not giving up and marching on. Braley tells his readers to fight determinedly, but stay clean. The sweetness of success lies in fair play, without letting it get tarnished because of resorting to unfair means. Here hopelessness has been personified as “Dame Despair”. One should not be let down by his losses and should never give up on righteousness in his bid to attain success. If moral means are followed to reach the end, then man can mock hopelessness on her face and move ahead.

Stanza 5

It’s looking up at the stars above,
And drinking deeply of life and love;
It’s struggling on with the will to win,
But taking the loss with a cheerful grin.

Success is looking up at the stars and endeavoring to reach them. It is about man’s ambitions and the hard work which he does to accomplish his goals. But, success should not be made synonymous with material goods. Real success lies in happiness and contentment, which is available to man in the form of life and love. The road to success is not a bed of roses. The poet tells all about the struggle that man has to undergo to reach success. One shouldn’t lose their will till the very end, despite all the obstacles that they might face. At the same time, they should not let loss or failure push them down. They should take their losses on their stride and continue working with enthusiasm. With every loss, man learns something new, gets a lesson. Hence, he should accept the failures with a smile and mold them into something productive.

Stanza 6

It’s sharing sorrow and work and mirth,

And making better this good old earth;
It’s serving, striving through strain and stress,
It’s doing your noblest – that’s a success!

In this concluding stanza, the poet encompasses all his thoughts and compresses them into these four lines. He says that real success is sharing joy, sadness, and work, all equally and making this world a better place to live in. There is a message of peace and harmonious living in these lines. Success is about serving others and attempting to overcome strain and stress and other obstacles that fall in one’s path. Being noble, magnanimous, loftiness of mind, spirit, and principles is what makes a man successful.

Critical Analysis:

That’s Success by Berton Braley is a universal poem that any dynamic, ambitious man can relate to. Enlisting all the ingredients that are necessary for brewing up success, this poem is a self-esteem booster. Written in a simple, decipherable language, the poet has made use of precise, piercing words that ensure that the impact of the poem is not compromised. The first stanza is an introduction to the theme of this poem and provides the reader with a base as to what is to come next. The highlight of this stanza is the line about making money, yet holding friends. A man usually has a misconception that to become rich he must sacrifice all his worldly relationships. Mostly, in his chase for attaining success, man ignores or neglects his family ties. Braley clearly states that without the comfort of any companionship it is impossible for man to achieve the true essence of success. The second stanza is about the clarity of thoughts that is necessary for reaching a particular goal. If a man is confused or unsure about his plan of action if he doesn’t know why he wants success or what his definition of success is, then he won’t be able to pursue his dreams. The consequent stanzas mostly talk about how failure should not deter a man from pursuing success. It is inevitable that the path to success will be sprinkled with obstacles. But, if a man truly wants to taste success, then he must be willing to take these difficulties in his stride and keep marching forward. He should make hard work his armor and face all adversities. There will always be a distraction and enticing short cuts, but it is upon man himself to not get tempted to ditch his moralities and values and choose the easier, but wrong way. Success tastes sweeter if it has been achieved by sheer labor and righteousness. Success is also not just confined to one’s personal self. Doing good for society, sharing your joy with others, that is a success. Success is being noble.


The poet uses an inspirational and motivational tone throughout the poem. The words and the language used in the poem act as morale boosters and inspire the reader to chase success, but in a moral way. Braley has made use of simple, yet the effective language that can reach all men, as the desire for success is a commonality. That’s Success has a simplistic and straightforward tone.

Central Idea:

As is evident from the title of the poem, That’s Success is a poem that completely revolves around what exactly is meant by success and what are requirements for achieving it. Comprising of six stanzas, this poem begins with giving the main idea as to what constitutes success and moves on to highlight the other intricacies of success. The major intention of the poet has been to inspire the reader to pursue success in a true and righteous manner, despite all the obstacles that he faces. Only this will ensure the achievement of real success, contentment, and happiness. Resorting to unfair means mars the beauty of reaching one’s goal. Thus, there is no shortcut to success and one has to tread on the field of success with hard work as their armor and brave the path that is riddled with risks and failures.









The Crocodile and the Monkey

About the poem:

A poetic version of the moral tale of a crocodile and a monkey from the Panchatantra, The crocodile and the monkey by Vikram Seth is one of the poems from Seth’s Beastly Tales from Here and There, which is a collection of moralistic poems with animals depicting human traits. In the poem, a wife’s needs displace a friend’s.  Mrs. Crocodile is drawn as a zaftig, scaly monstrosity with the expression of a nagging, vain, cuckolding wife. A good monkey may be hard to find, but Kuroop the crocodile has no choice but to satisfy his wife’s prandial passion by acquiring the mango-rich heart of the monkey. Only a foolish monkey would be so kind as to give a lowly crocodile the freshest mangoes from the trees. Kuroop the crocodile falsely convinces the monkey to attend their home across the river for a dinner. While the monkey rides upon his back, Kuroop generously offers him a choice as to the manner of death. But the monkey is not so easily duped by trickery. By cleverly stating that he never carries his precious heart with him and has left it in the trees on the shore from which they came, the monkey is saved. And upon his return, he crowns Kuroop with rotten mangoes hurled from the trees. The main moral is that one should not trust those who are normally untrustworthy. Even when we are walking towards our death, if our ‘friend’ backstabs us, we should not give up. We still have hope at the last moment as long as we do not give up.

Line wise explanation of the poem:

On the Ganga’s greenest isle
Lived Kuroop the Crocodile:
Greeny-brown with a gentle grin,
Stubby legs and scaly skin,
He would view with tepid eyes,
Prey below a certain size
But when the substantial dish
Dolphin, turtle, fatter fish
Swam across his field of view,
He would test the water too.
Out he’d glide, a floating log,
Silent as a polliwog
Nearer, nearer, till his prey
Swam single length away;
Then he’d lunge with smiling head,
Grab, and snap, and rip it dead

Then (prime pleasure of his life)
Drags the carcass to his wife,
Lay it humbly at her feet,
Eat a bit, and watch her eat.

The poem begins with the introduction of Kuroop, the crocodile. Kuroop inhabits the greenest island situated on the river Ganga. This is continued with the physical description of Kuroop, mentioning the skin of a greenish-brown color and a scaly texture. The crocodile has small, stubby legs and a perpetual gentle grin, and his eyes hold an apathetic expression. His hunting skills have been elaborated upon. Whenever Kuroop would pry any prospective preys crossing, he would follow them, as silent as a tadpole, until he’d be close enough to lunge at and tear them. Then he would carry the hunted to his wife and present it to her and together they would devour it.

All along the river-bank
Mango trees stood rank on rank,
And his monkey friend would throw
To him as he swam below
Mangoes gold and ripe and sweet
As a special summer treat
“Crocodile, your wife I know
Hunger after mangoes so
That she’dpine and weep swoon,
Mangoes-less in burning June.”
The Kuroop the crocodile,
Gazing upwards with smile,
Thus the addressed his monkey friend:
“Dearest monkey, in the end,
Not the fruit, but your sweet love,
Showered on us from above,
Constant through the changing years,
Slakes her griefs and dries her tears.”
(This was only partly true
She liked to love, and mangoes too.)

The scene described is one of a mangrove, which is known by the mention of mango trees surrounding the river. The monkey, from the title of the poem, is introduced here. The monkey, being able to climb on trees, would pluck mangoes from the trees and throw them down to the crocodile so that he could take them to his wife. The monkey’s kindness and consideration are known through these lines as he wants to wipe away the crocodile’s wife’s grief and satiate her hunger for golden sweet mangoes. Kuroop also acknowledges the monkey’s gratuitous gesture and thanks to him for how he has been constantly showering his love through mangoes on Kuroop and his wife.

One day Mrs. Crocodile,
Gorged on mangoes, with a smile
Sad, yet tender- turned and said:
“Scalykins, since we’ve been wed,
You’ve fulfilled my every wish
Dolphins, turtles, mangoes, fish
But I now desire to eat,
As an anniversary treat,
Something sweeter still than fruit,
Sugar-cane or sugar-root:
I must eat that monkey’s heart.”
“What?” “Well, darling, for a start,
He has been so kind to me;
Think how sweet his heart must be:
Then, the mango pulp he’s eaten
Year on year must serve to sweeten
Further yet each pore and part,
Concentrating on his heart.”
“Darling, he’s my friend.” I know;
And he trusts you. Therefore go-
Go at once and fetch him here
Oh, my breath grows faint, I fear…”
“Let me fan you- it’s the heat”
“No- I long for something sweet.
Every fruit tastes bitter now.
I must eat his heart somehow.
Get him here, my love, or I,
Filled with bitterness, will die.”

While feasting on her sweet mangoes, one fine day Mrs. Crocodile, with a pitiable smile turned to her husband, Kuroop and pleaded with him that through all these years he has fulfilled every wish of hers and had fulfilled all her whims and fancies, from dolphins to turtles to mangoes and fishes. But now, her heart desires for something sweeter than all these delicacies as an anniversary gift; she yearns for the monkey’s heart. Her request leaves Kuroop aghast as the monkey has always been nothing, but overtly kind and a good friend to Kuroop and his wife. To this, Mrs. Crocodile justifies her wish to state a logic as to how over the years the sweetness of the mangoes that the monkey has consumed would have accumulated in his heart, coupled with his love and kindness, and this would have made his heart very sweet to taste. She further asserts her wishes by putting up a show of how she is crumbling with longing for the monkey’s heart. Kuroop tries to dissuade her but to no avail.

When the monkey saw Kuroop
He let out a joyful whoop,
Jumped from branch to branch with pleasure,
Flinging down the golden treasure:
“Eat, my friend, and take your wife
Nectar from the tree of life
Mangoes ripe and mangoes rare,
Mangoes, mangoes everywhere.”
Then Kuroop the crocodile
Gazed up with a gentle smile:
“Monkey, you are far too kind,
But today, if you don’t mind,
Dine with both of us, and meet
Her whose life you’ve made so sweet.
when you meet her you will see
Why she means so much to me.
When she takes you by paw
Something at your heart will gnaw.
When you gaze into her eyes
You will enter paradise
Let us show your gratitude:
Share our friendship and our food.”
“Dear Kuroop, dear crocodile,
You can swim from isle to isle.
I can leap from limb to limb,
But, my friend, I cannot swim.
And your island’s far away.
If I get a boat someday…”
“Nonsense; jump upon my back.
You’re no heavier than my sack
Filled with mangoes to the crown.”

When Kuroop goes down to fetch the monkey for his wife, the monkey sights him. He greets Kuroop by throwing down ripe, golden mangoes from the trees to him so that he can take them to his wife and they both can enjoy them together. This itself shows how considerate and affectionate the monkey was and how much he valued Kuroop as a friend. Then, Kuroop invites the monkey over to dine with him and his wife on the pretense of wanting to introduce the monkey to his wife. Kuroop’s words have a dual meaning here. The phrase “When she takes you by paw, Something at your heart will gnaw. When you gaze into her eyes, You will enter paradise”, can also be interpreted as a warning as he is suggesting that meeting his wife will lead to the monkey’s heart being gnawed and him entering paradise or afterlife. The monkey replies to this invitation saying that conveyance will be a hindrance as unlike the crocodile, he cannot swim. He says that if someday he gets access to a boat, he will surely visit the crocodile and his wife. Considering his wife’s urgency, the crocodile comes up with a solution and suggests the monkey climb on his back so that he can give him a ride to his abode.

So the monkey clambered down,
Bearing mangoes, and delighted
With such warmth to be invited.
They were just halfway across
When the crocodile said: “Toss
All the mangoes in the water.”
“But these fruits are all I’ve brought her.”
“You yourself are the gift enough,”
Said Kuroop in accents gruff.
“Ah, my friend, that’s very gracious.”
“Well, my wife’s not so voracious-
And I’m certain that today
She won’t eat fruit. By the way.
Tell me what your breast contains.
Mango nectar fills your veins.
Does it also fill your heart?”
Said the monkey with the start:
“What a very curious question.”
“Well, she might get indigestion
If it’s too rich, I suspect.”
“What?” “Your heart.” “My heart?” “Correct.”
“Now,” Kuroop said with a frown,
“Which would you prefer- to drown
In the Ganga or to be
Gutted by my wife and me?
I will let you choose your end.
After all, you are my friend.”
Then he slowly started sinking.
“Wait,” the monkey said, “I’m thinking.
Death by drowning, death by slaughter
Deat by land or death by water
I’d face either with a smile
For your sake, O crocodile!
But your wife felicity
That’s what means the most to me.
Noble lady! How she’ll freeze,
Dumb with sorrow, when she sees,
Having prised my ribs apart,
That my breast contains no heart.
If you had not rushed me so,
I’d have found the time to go
To the hollow where I keep
Heart and liver when I sleep,
Half my brain, and fingernail,
Cufflinks, chutney, and spare tail.
I had scarcely woken up
When you asked me here to sup.
Why did you not speak before?
I’d have fetched them from the shore.”

The monkey took to Kuroop’s invitation and clambered down upon his back. Halfway through their journey, Kuroop tells the money to toss all the mangoes that he has brought for his wife into the water. The monkey is surprised by this curious request and Kuroop clarifies by saying that the monkey himself is gift enough for his wife. He says that the monkey himself will be enough to satisfy his wife’s appetite and asks the monkey if his heart really is richly sweetened by the mango nectar, as this might lead to his wife suffering from indigestion. This conversation confuses the monkey and he finally is able to decipher Kuroop’s implication when Kuroop asks him whether he would prefer to drown in the Ganga or be slaughtered by his wife. The monkey appears to be deep in thought and replies finally by saying that he is ready to sacrifice his life for his friend. But, the main problem lies in the fact that the monkey contains his heart, not in his breast, but stores his heart, liver, half brain, fingernail, chutney and cufflinks in a hollow while he is sleeping. When the crocodile extended to him the invitation, the monkey has barely woken up, and hence he did not get the time to retrieve his heart from the hollow.

Now Kuroop the crocodile
Lost, then quickly found, his smile.
“How my sweetheart will upbraid me!
Monkey, the monkey you must aid me.”
“Well ” the monkey placed his paw
Thoughtfully upon his jaw
“Well, although the day is hot
And I’d really rather not
We could go back, fetch my heart,
Check its sweetness, and depart.”
So the crocodile once more
Swam the monkey back to shore,
And, with tears of thankfulness
Mingled with concern and stress,
Worried what his wife would say
With regard to his delay,
Begged his friend: “Come back at once.”
“I’m not such a double-dunce,”
Yelled the monkey from the high;
“Tell your scaly wife to try
Eating her own wicked heart
If she has one for a start
Mine’s been beating in my breast
Night and day without rest.
Tell her that and for you,
Here’s my parting gift” He threw
Mangoes squishy, rotten, dead
Down upon the reptile’s head,
Who, with a regretful smile,
Sat and eyed him for a while.

First a little apprehensive about deciding his course of action, Kuroop finally decided to take the monkey back to his tree so that he could fetch his heart for Kuroop’s wife. Despite being worried about his wife’s reaction to this unforeseen delay, the crocodile was immensely thankful for the monkey’s cooperation. But, when he told the monkey to make haste and come back down on his back, the monkey retaliated by saying that he was once bitten and twice shy. He wouldn’t be stupid enough to aid the crocodile, who had taken undue advantage of his friendship and tried to use him as a scapegoat. Throwing down rotten mangoes upon Kuroop’s head, the monkey told him that the excuse of his heart is kept in a hollow was just a trick that he used to manipulate Kuroop and save his own life. Cursing Kuroop’s wife, he told him that his heart was intact inside his body all throughout. And on this note, he bade him goodbye, while Kuroop kept gazing at him with mournful eyes.

Critical Analysis

On the surface a children’s poem, But at its heart, The Crocodile and the Monkey by Vikram Seth is a well-spun tale of friendship, kindness, betrayal, and subsequent estrangement. Rewriting the moralistic tale of not trusting those who are untrustworthy, from the Panchatantra, Seth presents this story in a poetic form with a nursery rhyme-like tune with humanized animals conversing and imparting values. Kuroop the crocodile is a character whose major objective is to impress his wife and cater to all her needs. For this purpose, he brings her carcass of his prey and also agrees to sacrifice his own friend, the monkey to satisfy her appetite. His wife, Felicity is shown to be greedy, manipulative, and selfish as she wants to devour the same monkey’s heart, who had been providing her with sweet mangoes through so many years. Her concern lies only with her own well being as she put her husband, Kuroop’s friendship with the monkey on the back burner, and demanded that he betray his friend and satiate her greed. The monkey’s presence of mind and shrewdness was identified when he outsmarted Kuroop after knowing about his evil intentions and managed to save his life. Written in a humorous, witty manner, poem. A ballad, it not only narrates a story but also gives a very honest picture of human interactions. Narrated in a racy, yet bantering manner, one notices the difference between the crocodile’s attitude of a predator towards his prey and his docile nature towards his wife. .


Written by Vikram Seth in a simple, yet impactful language, the crocodile and the monkey are a poem which is for children on the surface but has a deep-rooted meaning. Through animals, it has portrayed some of the most popular, yet intricate human relationships. From unlikely friendships to betrayals, a monkey and a crocodile express it in their own way. Even the wicked, greedy wife of the crocodile expresses traits of greed, lust for more, and manipulation. To the young readers, the easy melody of the poem because of its AABB rhyme scheme will leave an impression, and to the more mature reader, the themes of the complexities of human interactions will appeal to. Overall, the poem is a light read with an underlying deep meaning to it.



The Patriot-And Old Story

About the poet-

Born on 7th May 1812, Robert Browning was an English writer and dramatist whose authority of dramatic verse, and specifically the dramatic monologue, made him one of the first Victorian writers. The Patriot-An Old story is an example of his works containing dramatic monologue. His sonnets are known for their incongruity, portrayal, dark humor, social editorial, authentic settings, and challenging vocabulary and language structure. At the point when Browning passed away in 1889, he was viewed as a sage and scholar artist who through his verse had made commitments to Victorian social and political talk – as in the sonnet Caliban upon Setebos, which a few commentators have seen as a remark on the late hypothesis of development. Strangely for a writer, social orders for the investigation of his work were established while he was still alive. Such Browning Societies stayed basic in Britain and the United States until the mid 20th century.

About the poem-

The Patriot – An Old Story is a poem written in Browning’s typical manner as it mirrors his murkiness, profound religiosity, and powerful confidence. This poetry is about a man who was once perceived as their legend and was valued and could fulfill anything that he favored in whichever way, but is later misjudged and is dismissed by the general population and is sentenced to death. He admits that he is sentenced to death for the wrong reasons and has faith and trust in God that he will be spared from general society’s misconstrued perspectives. He says that he is safe in paradise, and therefore this demonstrates that he inherently believes that he is correct, regardless of the public opinion. The theme of the poem is universally applicable as it touches upon the subject of the downfall of great men. Power and glory are impermanent and never last forever.

Mood, Setting of the poem:
“It was roses, roses, all the way” is indicative of a retrospective mood of the poet. The use of past tense in the beginning and then changing on to present tense is evidence of this.
The first two stanzas elaborate upon the grand welcome given to the poet. The mood focuses on the townspeople people, who are jubilant, happy, celebrating, and flaring fiery flags. Third stanza onwards, the mood is infected with tension and the patriot’s feeling of betrayal and anguish. He is feeling helpless and morose all his good deeds have been dismissed, and the people who once celebrated him are now executing him.
Hope and optimism can be seen in the last stanza where the patriot believes that after death, he will get true justice in God’s safe haven.

Stanza wise Explanation:

It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day.
the patriot by Robert browning is a poem about a man who has done something great for his country and countrymen, most probably a war hero, who is returning to his town. The first stanza is an elaborate description of how the poet is welcomed back with pomp and ceremony by all the townspeople. His path is laden with roses and myrtle, which signify love, respect, and honor being showered on the patriot by the people. The residents of the town have clambered onto their roofs to get a glimpse of the patriot and welcome him home and showcase their gratuity. This creates an imagery of the house itself moving and swaying with the weight and number of people. Even the church spires were decorated with fiery colored flags. This gives the reader an idea of the enormity of the celebrations. The bright color of the flags made the church spires look like they were on fire and flames were engulfing them. In the last line, the poet discloses to the reader that these events occurred on this date, exactly a year ago.

The air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.
Had I said, Good folk, mere noise repels---
But give me your sun from yonder skies!''
They had answered,
And afterward, what else?”
The ringing of the church bells infected the air and it seemed to be echoing the celebratory noise. The walls of the city, which were already on the verge of erosion, due to time, reflected the impact of the din created by the crowd. It seemed to conduct the tremors and move. The patriot here is telling the people how he doesn’t want all the cheers and applause but wants the people to fetch the sun from the skies for him. He wants the power, glory, admiration, and honor. He wants to live in their memories as an immortal hero. The crowd replies to his request with a query as to after this, what else does he require. Here a side of the patriot is shown that searches, not for momentary praise, but for everlasting recognition and glory. He doesn’t want extravagant celebrations that can die down with time. He is looking for something more permanent. The sun is a symbol of immortality, power, honor, and glory. Hence, the patriot asks the people to fetch him their sun from the skies. The answer to the crowd is reflective of their frivolous nature. They immediately ask the patriot what else would he require, other than the sun. This indicates that though the crowd was eager, they weren’t sensible. As the sun is the ultimate power, and one wouldn’t require anything after conquering it.

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
To give it my loving friends to keep!
The naught man could do, have I left undone:
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.
The third stanza acts as a conjunction for the transition from the past to the present. The patriot says that despite him asking the townspeople to get him the sun, in the end, it was he who leaped for it and got it for the people, who he refers to as his beloved friends. This act that he does is such in nature that had he left it undone, no other man could have accomplished it. This stanza has a tone of regret. This can be deciphered by the use of “Alack!” or Alas. Also, the last two lines indicate this as the patriot mourns about how his deed has been repaid by the people. His “harvest” is what he has reaped, whereas what he had sown was bringing glory, power, and honor to the people. The first two stanzas narrate the incidents of a year back when the patriot was given celebrity status. This stanza acts as synopsis to the current events.

There’s nobody on the house-tops now—
Just a palsied few at the windows set;
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles’ Gate—or, better yet,
By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.

There are no more people on the rooftops, trying to catch a glimpse of the patriot. Only a few cripples can be seen at the windows. The patriot takes up a sarcastic tone at this point and says that this is because the best sight is at the gate of the gallows. In this stanza, a contrast is drawn between the time when the rooftops were heaving with people, celebrating the patriot’s deeds, and the current scenario where the people are assembled, but near the gallows. Only the ones who cannot travel to the spot of execution, the ones who are crippled, are staring outside their windows to get a look at the patriot. The patriot’s anguish is seen when he taunts about the townspeople, saying they will be found, not on the roofs, but on the site of the execution, or better still, at the foot of the gallows. This stanza is suggestive of the patriot’s fate that he is being taken to be executed.

I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year’s misdeeds.

The imagery here is that of the patriot walking in the rain, heading towards the gallows. His wrists are tied tightly behind his back with a rope that cuts through his
skin. He can feel blood trickling down his forehead, but he cannot know for sure as his hands are bound, so he can’t touch and feel. His cuts are because of the stones being flung at him by anybody and everybody. The picture being projected in this stanza is a very pitiable one as it is in direct contrast with the imagery of the first and the second stanza. The patriot provides an ambiguous explanation for this transition, saying he is being punished for the misdeeds that he has committed within this one year. Despite the fact that no rigid and stable details have been given of the patriot’s act, it can be inferred that most probably he has indulged in acts of treachery, betrayal, or any such unpatriotic act. This conclusion can be reached keeping the title of the poem in mind. The main gist of this stanza is the description of the poet’s walk of shame.

Thus I entered, and thus I go!
In triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
Paid by the world, what dost thou oweMe?”—God might question; now instead,
‘Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.

The concluding stanza of the poem begins with the patriot declaring how he is leaving, the same way that he entered. He is walking towards his death through the same streets on which he had entered the town and was welcomed as a celebrity, a hero. Even the most important, most loved people have lost their glamour and glory. The most triumphant have also fallen. The patriot’s religious beliefs have been reflected and his belief in an afterlife has been showcased when he mentions how he will be received by god. If God might ask him, now that he has been paid for his deeds by the world, what more does he owe to god? The patriot’s reply to this has shades of faith and optimism. He replies saying that his real repayment will be done by god. He is placing his trust in God as he knows that he has committed no moral wrongs and the almighty is always just and fair. Hence, he is safe with god as he won’t have to face any more undeserving punishments and will be truly and justly rewarded for his acts or deeds.

Critical Analysis:

Written in the form of a dramatic monologue, The patriot- An old story by Robert browning is an account of a man’s fall from power to disgrace. From the title of the poet, The patriot, one gathers that the poem is about an individual. On the other hand, the subtitle, “an old story” can be deciphered as it is a universal story that can be applicable to anybody. This is in line with the contrast that is projected in the poem.
The first stanza begins with the description of the patriot’s arrival into the town and the magnificent welcome given to him by the townspeople. His path has been laden with roses and fragrant myrtles and people are clambered on their rooftops to catch a glimpse of and congratulate the patriot. The past tense used in the first stanza creates a retrospective narrative. It has been implied that the town is a very cluttered and old one. “Old walls rocked” in the second stanza is evidence of this. The poet has religious beliefs and this can be seen in the first and second stanza where he mentions churches and bells, also the last stanza has him reaching out to God’s safe haven for justice. But, the patriot is shown as a man who values permanence more than temporary glory. This is reflected in his asking the townspeople to fetch him the sun, as it is the ultimate symbol of power, glory, and immortality. True to the title of the poem, the patriot himself fetches the sun for his beloved friends, but it is then that regret enters his tone. His feeling of betrayal is quite clear when he mentions about despite his good deeds what he is reaping. “A year has run” signifies that something eventful has taken place through that one year which has had some adverse effects. This is when he starts narrating the current scenario. The mood of the poet changes to sarcastic and ironic as he draws a contrast by juxtaposing the full roofs in the past with the present empty ones. The fickle nature of the townspeople can also seem like the same people who were celebrating the patriot, are now gathered near the gallows to cheer his execution. To emphasize on the patriot’s emotions, his walk of shame is described where the patriot comments on the transitory nature of man, who might love today and hate tomorrow. Despite this sorrowful tone of the poem, one notices that Browning ends a poem on a note of optimism as he hopes that regardless of the misunderstanding and evils contaminating the world, God always does justice and it is in death that the patriot will be granted what he truly deserves and will rest peacefully in God’s safe haven. This is also an example of the faith he places in god and religion.

The Patriot is majorly based on the theme of rising and fall of fortune. The narrator, the patriot is welcomed with feverish joy and paths of roses in the first two stanzas by the townspeople. But, by the end of the poem we see that those same people have humiliated and executed him, within a year. This shows that glory and fortune do not last forever. People are fickle-minded and change their opinions without a second thought. Someone who is loved today may easily be hated tomorrow.
The poem has undertones of religiosity. The first stanza itself mentions flags fluttering on the church spires also; the patriot is welcomed with ringing bells. The final stanza has the patriot being optimistic about death as he believes that God does justice to one and all and he will recognize that the patriot has done nothing immoral. This faith in God and the belief that he will be safe in god’s abode shows that a patriot is a religious man. Also, there is a biblical reference when the poet mentions the reaping of the harvest.
Betrayal is also a minor theme in the poem as the poet fetched the sun for the townspeople, and in return, they stamped him as a criminal and executed him. All his good deeds were forgotten and he was brought to a humiliating and painful death.


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.

Blood – by Kamala Das

Kamala Das as a poet presents us with a powerful and, yet emotional poem, that plays with the emotional as well as cultural instincts of the reader. It is not merely a work with hundreds of lines, but is connected closely to the poet’s heart, dedicated to her grandmother and a promise that could never be fulfilled. Blood is a poem that promises the readers to think about the promises they make, and their failure to get them fulfilled. Also, reminds them to keep carrying the good qualities and cultural heritage, all along their generations, causing a failure of which can lead to a vas gap between the traditional customs and present generation.

Remembering all the fun and floric days of childhood, spent with her brother, back in the their grandmother’s home. She happily rediscovers – at the beginning of the poem – , that she would play in sand, draw birds and animals. But at the same time, she is envisaged with the ugly memory of her worried grandmother, about her falling home. She told her (the poet), the house is as old as, three hundred years, and now falling to little bits. The grandmother is helpless that she could not do, but repent, since all the things of the house are now cracking, whether Lord Shiva’s temple, or the doors with holes. She cries and worries so much for the house, that even her eyes have got reddend;seeing which, the little Kamala Das promises to repair it some day when she grow old, and very very rich. Hearing this innocent promise, made out of curiosity, her grandmother touches her cheeks and smile.

Further, the laureate speaks up about her grandmother, who was really a simple lady, with least desires in the world. “Fed on God for years”,her only espouse was God, for she had became a widow the next year of her marriage. Her grandmother was a princess, rode on elephant, always went to temple, she had a lot of jewel, and every kind of quality oil, perfume and sandal.

The poet is proud to be born in such a lineage, that “had the oldest blood”, the blood, in terms of heritage and traditional values. Unlike others, who either are new-richmen, or are always poor, having the hunch, “muddy as a ditch”. But, alas! one very poor day, she lay died in her eighty sixth year. The poet remembers her as –

A woman wearied by compromise
Her legs quilted with arthritis
And with only a hard cough
For comfort

She looked deep into her eyes, and prayed for her, that she always grieved for the house. Also, by now the poet herself has learnt how difficult it is to fulfill a promise, compared to making one. And once again, she saw “the house was crouching”, this time because nobody will be there to care of it, the way she used to have.

Here, the use if personification, beautifies the poem, and shovea more liveliness in the whole picture of the house, ruing, regretting, and repenting at the same time. When her grandmother was burnt into ashes, she looked at the house and thought, the house which was once loved a lot by her grandmother, its windows will be shut forever, like the closing of the eyes;pillars will groan;and the rooms sigh. And she set forward towards town, leaving the house, and all the good memories of her childhood.

Assuming the rats running around ever corner of the house, darkened halls, white ants covering the doors, one night, she fret, as the poet moved from one town to another. Since, it was nearest to her heart and grandmother, she felt as if the house is creaking and falling to sherds, also, she now regrets and seek forgiveness from the house, as was not able to fulfill the promise made to her grandmother. She quotes-

I have let you down
Old house,I seek forgiveness
O mother's mother's mother
I have plucked your soul
Like a pip from a fruit
And have flung it into your pyre

She had disappointed her grandmother and has destroyed her dreams. And therefore is asking her to either call her callous, or selfish, but do not blame her traditions and moral values given to her by her ancestors. Finally she assures her dead grandmother, even if she has not kept her promise, but she has not forgotten the good ethics, and morals taught to her by the grandmother.

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.

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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.

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The small circle is her life problems spins off tight,

society dispirited of what she is,

she observed the way , a life of positive ray,

A firefly came through the spin circle ,

Gave her lights and touched her soul,

glory of her life started with desire

Chasing up the firefly

in different ways in which the zazzy feathers cry

and so here dream started as an ambition to catch the firefly!