Poem 3
Std X – Chapter 11 - English
Author Name: P Lankesh
Pre-reading task
• Who do you like very much in your family?
• Say, in words and phrases, how the person
looks like?
• What qualities in him / her attract you?
• Draw his/her picture in your notebook
• The first poem is a tribute to his mother, a
rustic woman who lived an uncomplicated life.
• The poem begins by comparing mother to
mother earth.
• The second is a continuation of the first poem,
where the poet ponders how much of his
mother is still alive in him after he has lived a
civilized life in the city for so many years.
About the Author
• Palyada Lankeshappa better
known as P. Lankesh (1935 2000) was a well-known poet in
modern Kannada literature. He
was a great short-story writer,
journalist. He also produced and
directed films.
• He taught English at the Central
College of Bangalore University.
• Lankesh has won the Central and
State Academy awards for his
literary works and a national
award for his film ‘Pallavi’
• Lankesh died on 25 January 2000
at the age of 64 in Bangalore.
My mother,
black, prolific earth mother,
a green leaf, a festival of white flowers;
earthier with every burn,
with every pang2
more fruit and petal;
her limbs thrilled to children’s kicks:
laying down the basket on her head,
she groaned, closed her eyes, never opened them
She raised a hundred measures of millet
to please my father
and win a bracelet for her arm;
Swilling water for each clod of earth,
for pepper, pea, millet and grain,
she ploughed with her hand:
blossoming in flowers, ripening in fruit,
she watched over the fields,
spending her youth in a tatter of saris.
She died, she did:
what’s the age of a hag bent double?
How many new year moons,
how many festivals of sugar bread
over the live coals? How many times
had she wept, this woman,
for coin, for dead calf, for ruined again?
How many times had she roamed the villages
for some ancient runaway buffalo?
No, she was no Savitri,
no Sita or Urmila,
no heroine out of history books,
tranquil, fair and grave in dignity;
not like the wives of Gandhi and Ramakrishna.
She didn’t worship the gods
or listen to holy legends;
she didn’t even wear, like a good wife,
any vermilion on her brow.
A wild bear
bearing a litter of little ones,
she reared a husband, saved coins in a knot of
like a hurt bitch, she bared her teeth,
growled and fought.
She was mean, crooked, ready to scratch like a
her only rule: whatever raises a family.
She would burn and flare
if a son went wild, or the husband elsewhere
A jungle bear has no need for your Gita.
My mother lived
for stick and grain, labour and babies;
for a rafter over her head,
rice, bread, a blanket;
to walk upright among equals.
Admiration tears, thanks:
for bearing and raising us;
for living in mud and soil, for leaving as she
as if leaving home for the fields,
cool as usual,
in the middle of small talk.
(Choose the best answer among the four alternatives given)
• 1) The poet’s mother
a) grew crops on a farm
b) watered the plants of pepper, pea, millet and grain
c) ploughed the field with her hand
d) did all of the above
• 2) The poet’s mother was
a) an ‘ideal’ woman as described in ancient literature
b) calm, fair, dignified and spiritual
c) an ordinary woman with all her frailties
d) a ‘good’ wife worshipping the gods and listening
to holy legends.
Answer the following questions in two or three sentences each
1) Why does the poet compare his mother to fertile, black earth?
2) How / Why did she please her husband?
3) Why did she weep several times?
4) Why, do you think, she cursed, snarled and fought like a hurt
5) What did she live for?
6) What do you understand by the line 'A jungle bear has no need
for your Gita?
7) Why does the poet shed grateful tears?
8) Name the figures of speech used in the poem (clue : stanza one
and stanza five).
Why does the poet use them?
• 1) Describe the poet’s mother. Say a few
sentences about her appearance and
• 2) What makes your mother happy or angry or
• Based on this try to write a short poem of six
to eight lines on your mother