4.1 Old Women

4.1 Old Women



Old Women


Old women do not fly on magic wands
or make obscure prophecies
from ominous forests.
They just sit on vacant park benches
in the quiet evenings
calling doves by their names
charming them with grains of maize.


Or, trembling like waves
they stand in endless queues in
government hospitals
or settle like sterile clouds
in post offices awaiting mail
from their sons abroad,
long ago dead.


They whisper like a drizzle
as they roam the streets
with a lost gaze as though
something they had thrown up
had never returned to earth.


They shiver like December nights
in their dreamless sleep
on shop verandahs.


There are swings still
in their half-blind eyes,
lilies and Christmases
in their failing memory.
There is one folktale
for each wrinkle on their skin.
Their drooping breasts
yet have milk enough to feed
three generations
who would never care for it.


All dawns pass
leaving them in the dark.
They do not fear death,
they died long ago.


Old women once
were continents.
They had deep woods in them,
lakes, mountains, volcanoes even,
even raging gulfs.
When the earth was in heat
they melted, shrank,
leaving only their maps.
You can fold them
and keep them handy :
who knows, they might help you find
your way home.



Answer the Following Questions.


Q.1 Why are old women seen roaming aimlessly?


Ans: The old women are seen roaming aimlessly because they are not taken care of.


Q. 2 What role do your grandparents play in your life?


Ans: Our grandparents play a vital role in our life.They keep family united.They take care of us.


Q. 3 which lines reveal the loneliness of the old women?


Ans: "as they roam the street with a lost gaze” , this line reveals the loneliness of the old women.


Q. 4 Find out an example of Simile.


Ans: "They whisper like drizzles" "They shiver like December nights"



Answer the Following Questions. [March 2014]

1. What do ‘maps’ symbolize? (1)

Ans. Maps symbolize the experience of old women.

2. Do you feel that you should look after your grandparents? Why? (1)

Ans. Yes, I feel that Myself, and my parents should take care of my grandparents, because they have cared for us, they loved us and they had given us the proper guiding in life through their vast experience and knowledge.

3. Name and explain the figure of speech in the following line.
“All dawns pass leaving them in the dark” (1)

Ans. Antithesis: Two opposite ideas of ‘get lowered’ and ‘raise’ are brought together for poetic effect.

4. What examples of geographical imagery are mentioned in the poem? (1)

Ans. The examples of geographical imagery mentioned in the poem are continents, deep woods, lakes, mountains, volcanoes, gulfs and the earth. They are used in this extract suggests that, the old woman have a wide variety of knowledge with experience and they are the storehouses of information gathered from their experiences over the years.

Q. 4. A. Read the following extract and answer the questions given below: (4 marks)

1. What does the geographical imagery used in this extract suggest?

Ans. The geographical imagery used in this extract suggests that, the old woman have a wide variety of knowledge with experience and they are the storehouses of information gathered from their experiences over the years.

2. Who do you think should take care of your grandparents? Why?

Ans. Myself, and my parents should take care of my grandparents, because they have cared for us, they loved us and they had given us the proper guiding in life through their vast experience and knowledge.

3. Name and explain the figure of speech in the following lines:
Old women once
Were continents.

Ans. Metaphor: Here old women are implicitly compared to continents.

4. Find out the expressions that how old women are still capable of caring for others despite their old age?

Ans. who knows,  they might help you find your way home.


About the Poet.





K. Satchidanandan is a major Indian poet, who writes in Malayalam and English. He is also a critic, editor and translator. He was the Executive Head of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and editor of Indian Literature, the bimonthly journal of the Akademi. He has translated the poems of Bertolt Brecht, Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda and Cesar Vallejo into Malayalam.