Punishment in Kindergarten

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

schoolmates sipping

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

Other Poems by Kamala Das

  • A Losing Battle
  • An Introduction
  • Annette
  • Forest Fire
  • In Love
  • Krishna
  • Love
  • Man The Savage
  • My Grandmother’s House
  • Punishment in Kindergarten
  • Relationship
  • Summer in Calcutta
  • The Dance of the Eunuchs
  • The Freaks
  • The Looking Glass
  • The Maggots
  • The Old Playhouse
  • The Rain
  • The Stone Age
  • The Suicide
  • The Sunshine Cat
  • The Testing of the Sirens
  • Winter
  • Words

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