English Poems Index
Punishment in Kindergarten :
Today the world is a little more my own.
No need to remember the pain
A blue-frocked woman caused, throwing
Words at me like pots and pans, to drain
That honey-coloured day of peace.
‘Why don't you join the others, what
A peculiar child you are!’
On the lawn, in clusters, sat my
Sugarcane, they turned and laughed;
Children are funny things, they laugh
In mirth at others' tears, I buried
My face in the sun-warmed hedge
And smelt the flowers and the pain.
The words are muffled now, the laughing
Faces only a blur. The years have
Sped along, stopping briefly
At beloved halts and moving
Sadly on. My mind has found
An adult peace. No need to remember
That picnic day when I lay hidden
By a hedge, watching the steel-white sun
Standing lonely in the sky.
By Kamala Das
About The Poet :
Kamala Das was born in Kerala - India in 1934. She was educated mainly at home. Her short stories and poems are written in Malayalam and in English. She has published a number of books of poems and an autobiography. In many of her poems Kamala Das recalls experiences from her childhood. She was very devoted to the home and the surroundings which she grew up in. However, in this poem she remembers an incident which caused her not joy but pain. Now, in adulthood, she can look back on that day of punishment, detaching herself from the pain-she is not part of it any more. She has found an adult peace with which she can speak about the incident, without becoming upset. When she is describing the time spent at the kindergarten, the past tense is used, but when the poet is speaking about herself as an adult, she uses the present tense.
Words to Know :
Mirth : laughter, merriment
More my own : she is in control of her own life (and emotions)
Muffled : not loud or clear, vague
Peculiar : odd, strange
To drain : to empty