Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Mother at Sixty-six by Kamala Das

My Mother at Sixty-six
Kamala Das
Driving from my parent's
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realised with
that she thought away, and
looked but soon
put that thought away, and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes, but after the airport's
security check, standing a few yards
away, I looked again at her, wan,
as a late winter's moon and felt that
familiar ache, my childhood's fear,
but all I said was, see you soon,
all I did was smile and smile and

A note: I stopped teaching CBSE 5 years ago and I'm out of touch. So I haven't really worked on the explanations and edited them. You might find some of the explanations not up to the mark especially this poem. You will surely find better explanations on the net. One such site recommended by one of the readers which is really good and tailor made for CBSE is 

In this poem, Kamala Das explores the theme of ageing and death and isolation through a narration involving her mother.

While driving from her parent’s home to Cochin, she notices her mother sitting beside her dozing, her face pale like a dead body and her thoughts far away. This reminds her painfully that her mother is old and could pass away leaving her alone.

Putting that thought aside she looked out at the young trees speeding by and children running out of their homes happily to play. These remind her probably of youth and life, her own younger days and her mother when she was young.

But after the security check at the airport, looking back at her mother standing a few yards away, she finds her looking pale like the winter moon. She feels that familiar pain and childhood fear of the thought of losing her mother and of being lonely just as she had been when she was young because she was different from other children. She could only keep smiling and tell her ‘see you soon’ knowing full well that she might not see her.

If you think this explanation has helped you, kindly donate money to the orphanage for girls that my friend runs. You can know about it at


bj ram * said...

the explanation is really praiseworthy
it can add more beauty if u add and explain the literary devices used by the poet

suraj said...
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suraj said...
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Sonam said...

i couldn't understand the meaning of 'my childhood's fear',and i think you just solved the problem.thank you sir.

Mahalakshmi ooff Malini said...

a very nice explanation by you sir.thanks a lot for trying to help us students who are abroad and are in vain because of the low standard of teaching in the foreign countries..thanks a feels great to know that there are still lots of teachers in India who still care about their youth who are residing and studying outside india..m greatful to you..

cool gal said...

sir the poem is very beautifully described.the language is very comfortable.easy to understand theme'highly appreciated by me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much sir.Sir,could you explain what the parting words of the author,and her smile signify?

rajesh the impregnable said...

An adequate analysis.But the poem is hardly worth reading as such.Almost completely devoid of any of the things which characterize a poem,it is a very poor version of what she can write.Disappointing indeed..

bj ram * said...

The poet wants to conceal her pathetic feeling towards her mother. she tries to console her with her smile but she has the internal feeling that she won't be able to meet her mother in her next meeting.

sharadh said...

while quoting the poem, you have missed line:
that she was as old as she
looked but soon
put that thought away, and"

the explanation was helpful.

Anonymous said...

what is late winter's moon??

can u explain sir?

guy1950 said...

This is awesome Thank You! :)

jaya said...

well the explanation is really appreciable but u hav written one line that she was different than the other children ....... in the explanation can u plzz elaborate it a bit more clearly ..... thank you

Navaneeth said...

Sir, your explanations are very nice and were a lot of help!!!!!!
it would be good if u also uploaded the explanations for 'A Thing of Beauty' by John Keats!!!!!!thank u

Anonymous said...

Really appreciate your work sir.
Very helpful for my school exams.
Always look up to your explanaition for all the poems. Great job.
And like a previous comment said, addition of literary devices would be great. Thanks! :D

kuldeep singh kaira said...

thanks a lot....

Anonymous said...

not good

Anonymous said...

Its really good

Venkat Krisshna said...

Romba thanks sir! My boards begin day after. hope everything goes well! : )

waheeda kenza said...

thank you for the explanation but, what is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels..??

Anonymous said...

She feels the pain of loss and seperation.
She recalls the times when as a child she used to fearcpermanent aeperation from her mother which would occur due to her mothers death.

Anonymous said...

This is rubbish

Neelima Jain said...

explanation 'between the lines' should be added

Choekyi said...

I dont understand why the poet was driving when she had to catch a flight.

Anonymous said...

the explaination was not up to the mark for children to understand!

Anonymous said...

the explaination was not up to the mark for children to understand!

Anonymous said...

in d last para its been said that d poet is "fully" aware dat she wont c her mother isnt she apprehensive about how long she'll live?? so how is it dat she is knws for sure that she is going to die?

Anonymous said...

. the explanation which you had stated above is really beautiful and heart touching . it also signyfies that we must not lose our hope even. though we become old. even though i don't have a single penny but i shell pray for those orphans.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Explanations could be a lot better.

Where does it say she was different from other children??!

Anonymous said...

This summary was useless..

neha shiwach said...

< b> sir this summary is gud but not fulfilling my questions so can u help me out to explain its literary skills ?

Anonymous said...

please do explain all the poetic devices present in the poem ! that's the way the students may get benefit :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

itzz pk ok not upto the pt

Anonymous said...

the explanation is not up to the point

sanchi jain said...

plese tell me the meaning of part of late winter moon

sanchi jain said...

please tell me the meaning of part of late winter moon

Ramu Choda said...

This summary really fucks. Tu ne toh gaand maar diya teri 66 ki maa ki.

Rishabh Sengupta said...

hey,ramu i bet the last part of your name totally goes with you. If you did not like it,you could have criticised it....we do understand that you are one smartas* and for that you dont have to curse.If some one harassed you during your child hood days,then,go to the police,this not the right place for frustration you blithering idiot.