Poem 1 My Mother at Sixty – Six

Poem 1

My Mother at Sixty – Six

Question 1. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?

Answer. When the poet sees the pale and corpse-like face of her mother, her old familiar pain or the ache returns. Perhaps she has entertained this fear since her childhood. Ageing is a natural process and time and ageing spare none. Time and ageing have not spare poet’s mother. With this ageing, separation and death become inevitable.

Question 2. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’?

Answer. The poet is driving to the Cochin airport when she looks outside, the young trees seem to be walking past them. With the speed of the car, they seem to be running fast. Poet presents a contrast between her ‘dozing’ old mother and ‘sprinting’ young trees.

Question 3. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their homes’?

Answer. The merry children coming out of their homes in large numbers presents an image of happiness and spontaneous overflow of life. This image presents an image of happiness and spontaneous overflow of life. This image is in stark contrast to the dozing old mother, whose ‘ashen’ face looks lifeless and pale like a corpse.

Question 4. Why has the mother been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’ ?

Answer. The poet’s mother is sixty-six years old. Her shrunken ‘ashen’ face resembles a corpse. She has lost her shine and strength of youth. Similarly, the late winter’s moon looks hazy and obscure and lacks shine and strength.

Question 5. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?

Answer. The poet’s parting words of assurance and her smile provides a stark contrast to the old familiar ache or fear of the childhood. Her words and smile are a deliberate attempt to hide her real feelings.

Long Answer Type Questions

Question 1.  What worried the poet when she looked at her mother?

Answer. The poet was sitting beside her old mother while driving from her parent’s home to Cochin. The old mother was dozing with her mouth open. Her face looked lifeless and ‘ashen’ like a dead body. The scars of old age on the face of her mother left the daughter concerned and worried about her.

Question 2.  What were the poet’s feelings at the airport ? How did she hide them ?

Answer. The poet experienced two opposite and contrasting feelings at the airport. The ashen and pale face of her mother brought an image of decay and death. But she immediately hid her real feelings from her mother. She composed herself and tried to look normal. She smiled continuously to assure her mother that they would meet again.