The poem ‘Memories’ is by an Indian poet called Trilokesh Mukherjee. The poet grew up in India and this influences the poem, he brings his culture into the poem by using imagery and senses and other literary devices.
Also, he refers to the Gods from the Hindu religion and mythology. Hindu religion, mythology and family are all very important to the Indian people and this is all shown in the poem when they are sitting around the fire at night. The theme of this poem is childhood memories and how they are still strong in the poets mind.
The setting of this poem is in the evening/night time and this is shown by the fact that all the creatures that are mentioned are nocturnal like the night owls. “The meal was shared with all the children.” This shows us that everybody is included, and there is a sense of togetherness in this community. The poet uses senses to help paint a picture in the readers head. He uses smell with “smelled the smoke of the fire”, “the food being cooked”, “the smell of the rice.”
This is intended to make the reader feel relaxed and get a home feeling and feel delightful. Next, the poet uses sights. “Glow worms added golden firework sparks on the dark canvas.” The poet wants the readers to see a magical world through a kids eyes, and the glow worms are like fireworks going on. It is like the poet is bringing his dark canvas to life. Thirdly, Mukherjee uses sounds to give us an idea of what we can hear, the poet uses onomatopoeia and gives us three examples of what the reader can hear.”untiring chirping of the crickets and nightjars”, “hooting of night owls”, “howling of distant jackals.”
There Are four different animals here and it could be that they are forming like a band, like the sounds of the night. There is also another example that again, makes the reader feel calm and relaxed. It is “her reassuring voice.” This shows us that Grandmother makes him feel safe and calm.
There are many different ideas for tone in this poem. There is fascination, where the poet as child and his friends have heard the stories so many times, yet still want to hear more about it again and again. “Again and again” is emphasising on the repetition of the story. There is also excitement from the little kids. “…and then, Grandma!”
Although, they already know what was going to happen since they have heard the story before. The poet brings in his culture again, and the reader can tell that culture is very important to the poet and also that he is proud of it. When he uses the adjectives “valiant” and “wonderful” to describe the Gods from the Hindu religion/ mythology.
Towards the end of the poem, the tone of the poem gets sad, when the poet states “Grandmother is no more.” But, even though he said that, he says “I can still hear her voice.” This shows us how strong the poets memories are. There is then comfort when the poet said, “I need only shut my eyes to hear the whispering.”
This shows us that he goes back an remembers the scene/ setting of the poem, which could be his happy place. The main message for the poem is that the importance and power of the memories. When he states “That’s what the memories are about.” This suggests that Mukherjee uses his childhood memories as a comfort zone.
The language of the poem is also important in the way they describe the memories. In line 1-3 you can straight away realise that the poet uses the collective pronoun ‘We’ This draws the reader into the poem, making them feel part of the poem. It shows the memories of all the family being together, almost like an autobiography. The poet used assonance of the ‘I’ sound in “untiring chirping of crickets” it’s brings the sound alive. Also the metaphor in the third line, it suggests the brightness of the glow worms. It is almost like a child-like description of the magic of the moment.
In lines 4-5, the poet again uses senses to remind him of the memories from his childhood with his Grandmother. “Smelled the smoke.” “The smell of rice.” The smell of rice reminds him of the warmth of the house since rice is more of an Indian cultured food. Mukherjee uses ellipsis at the end of line 5, like a dramatic pause which takes us to another stage of the memory which is his Grandmother telling stories to the children.
In lines 6-9, after the dramatic pause, the poet uses the phrase ‘Much later’, this gives us the impression that the meal and the story telling lasted all night. Grandmothers “reassuring voice” makes her sound like a comforting and loving figure, which could be why this could be his favourite childhood memory and why he talks about it. There is also a paradox used “Far away, unknown, yet familiar”, this shows that the stories were extraordinary for the children.
In lines 10-13, the children (including the poet) are always hungry to hear the story and are never really satisfied with it. The use of dialogue, exclamation marks and question marks, show the reader the excitement of the children listening to the story. In lines 14-17, Grandmother brought their dreams alive with her wonderful storytelling and this suggests again, why this could be their favourite childhood memory with their Grandmother.
In conclusion, the poet brings out the main theme of the poem which is his childhood memories and by doing so, he is influenced by his culture and surroundings. Trilokesh Mukherjee uses imagery (senses mostly) and metaphors to bring his poem alive and it’s in the past and then towards the end its comes back to the present. This shows us that the poet is now back to reality. The poet thinks that memories are important and that they take us back to he things that really matter in life which is true and in this case it would be, taking him back, to when he was a young boy and how he and his friends would sit around the open fire and listen to his Grandmother tell stories after a meal.