Of Mothers, Among Other Things – A.K. Ramanujan Essay

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SUMMARY
The poet remembers his mother. He sees her very old now but cannot forget her youthful images since his childhood. He compares her with a blackbone tree because the tree is old and twisted at the moment but was young some time ago. He then compares her hands with the claws of an eagle because like an eagle's claws, her hands and fingers transformed, grew rough and twisted with works that she did for the family.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I smell upon this twisted blackbone tree the silk and white petal of my mother's youth.
From her earrings three diamonds splash a handful of needles,
and I see my mother run back from rain to the crying cradles.
1. What does the poet smell upon the blackbone tree?
The poet smells his mother's youthfulness upon the blackbone tree.
2. What do 'silk and white petal' refer to?
Silk and white petal symbolizes the mother's youthfulness, when she was soft and smooth as silk and fragile a white petal.
3. Why is the blackbone tree twisted?
The blackbone tree is said to be twisted because it has become so old as the mother.
4. Why is the poet's mother compared to a backbone tree?
The poet's mother is compared to a blackbone tree because the bark of the tree and the mother's skin have both traveled with time and wrinkled.
5. What does the poet mean by the 'handful of needles?'
The poet portrays the mother's youthful charm with her earrings splashing rays of light. The mother was once beautiful and was aware of it and tended her beauty like any other young woman.
6. Why did the mother run back from rain?
The mother ran back from rain because she had left one of her babies in the cradle inside the house when it rained.The memory of the baby in the cradle, probably alone, made her run to see the baby.
The rains tack and sew with broken threads the rags of the tree tasselled light.
But her hands are a wet eagle's two black- pink crinkled feet,
one talon crippled in a garden- trap set for a mouse.
1. Which are the...

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