“… but after the airport’s security check, standing a few yards away, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter’s moon…”

Question: “… but after the airport’s security check, standing a few yards away, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter’s moon…”

Q. Who is ‘her’ here? Why does the poet look at her again?

Answer: ‘Her’ is the poetess Kamala Das’ sixty-six-year-old mother. The poetess looked at her again for the last time to reassure herself that her mother is well. She drove away from her thoughts of pain and fear which had surfaced on seeing her mother. It was a look of reassurance to meet her again.


Q. Explain ‘pale as a late winter’s moon.’

Answer: This is an example of a simile. The poet has compared her mother’s face to a winter’s moon. Winter symbolises death and a waning moon symbolises decay. Just like winter loses its magnificence and beauty when covered with fog and mist, similarly, the poet’s mother has lost her youth and vitality and has become inactive and withered.


Q. Why did the poet promise her mother of a meeting in the near future?

Answer: The poet was doubtful of seeing her mother again. She knew that the mother was also aware of the same. Yet, to encourage her mother, to leave hope in her mind, to make herself strong, the poet promised a futile reunion in the future.


Q. The poet’s repeated smile seems out of the place in a way. In which way is that appropriate?

Answer: The poet had no reason to smile at the time of separation from her aged mother. She was deeply distressed and pained to separate from her mother when she was so old. Yet, to make the mother feel ‘there is nothing to worry,’ the poet attempted to be glad, cheerful and reassured by her extended smile.


“… but after the airport’s security check, standing a few yards away, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter’s moon…”


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