Summary of the Love Poem for A Wife Part 1 by A.K. Ramanujan
Summary of the Love Poem for A Wife : The poet narrates various incidents about the early years of his married life. He reminisces the evenings when a number of their cousins met together and kept gossiping till midnight.
Summary of the Love Poem for A Wife
Here the poet appears in a reminiscent mood. He broods over the emotional alienation with his wife, with whom he was married long ago. The poet says that many years have passed of their married life, yet there is a kind of unfamiliarity between them. This alienation is related to their mental state. There is still monotony in their relationship. According to the poet, the main cause of this alienation is that they have not shared experiences of their childhood. They do not have much knowledge about each other’s bygone life because the sources of knowing each other’s background are no more. Poet’s father is already dead and his wife’s father, who was initially ill-tempered, but now has softened in his temper.
The poet narrates various incidents about the early years of his married life. He reminisces the evenings when a number of their cousins met together and kept gossiping till midnight. During their gossiping, they sipped brandy and chewed cashew-nuts. They could talk freely as their elders were not present. Their grandparents were already dead. There was none to interfere their liberty. At these meetings, the poet’s wife would become curious to know the details of her husband’s past life while the poet envied her wife’s childhood because she used to enjoy dog rides. He could not tolerate the invented stories of his wife’s seven crazy aunts.
Here the poet tells us about his wife’s curiosity to know about his past life and his childhood. She was ever engaged to seek the sources in order to collect the information about the poet. Once she got an album containing the pictures of poet’s family members. At first she was curious to know how the poet looked in his childhood. Thus, she knew a lot about the poet. She enjoyed collecting the information about the poet from his family members.
She took interest whenever she was told about her husband’s activities. Once she was told that poet’s father used to make noise while bathing and rubbing soap on his back. The poet wore a foolish expression when he showed her the pictures of his father taken on his wedding day. His father wore a turban on that day while his mother wore silver rings on her toes. The poet’s wife formed the impression that the poet could achieve anything unique in life due to Fate or God’s Providence; otherwise he was a born fool, not capable of doing anything great or unique.
Stanza 4: (Love Poem for A Wife)
The poet recollects that his wife’s father was a man of firm nature. He was strict and a man of great moral sense, so a great change could not be expected in a man of such nature. Her father had now grown very old and he had brought a great change in him. In her youth, the poet’s wife used to spend her evenings and even nights out of her house because she had an affair with Muslim boy and her father made many efforts to bring moral changes in her behaviour and conduct. But now her father does not believe that there can be wrong in any past action. Her father trusted on her explanation.
But in former years, he used to wait her for several hours when she was out till late night. He used to smoke many cigars in order to get rid of tensions. He kept on walking here and there in his balcony until she arrived at house. But when asked, she at once consoled her father by saying that she did not provide him complete liberty and he only touched her body amorously but had gone no further. The poet says that now on asking the previous activities of his daughter, he pretends that she had no affair with anyone.
Now the poet comes out from his contemplation mood and thinks of his wife who has not brought even a bit of change in her. She has maintained the same nature by now. Further the poet narrates an incident which happened in Chicago. Only two weeks ago, in Chicago, she and her brother James had started quarrelling about where the bathroom was situated in the backyard in their grandfather’s house in Alleppey: whether it was situated to the north or to the south of the well next to the jackfruit tree. The poet and James’ wife did not interfere in their argument and quarrel. They were stood aside in the room and were only watching their proceeding quarrel.
Later on his wife and James sat on the floor of the room and started sketching of their grandfather’s house. They wanted to locate the right place of bathroom in their map. They drew the sketch on the newspapers, on the backs of envelopes and on the maps of the roads of United States. Whatever they got, they started drawing sketch. They also decided upon a wager on the right location of bathroom. The poet’s wife decided to appoint her brother the heir of her husband’s total earnings if proved wrong and her brother would appoint her the heir of his total property. They left the rest matter for their uncle who lived in Kuwait.
Stanza 6: (Love Poem for A Wife)
Here the poet, after being dissatisfied of his monotonous married life, gives reference to two traditions established by two different countries. At first he gives reference of the ancient Egyptians who did the right thing by establishing a custom that the prince to the throne should marry his own sister and in this way the marriage was sure to prove successful because the prince and his sister, after their marriage, would be able to share their childhood experiences. But there was also another purpose of their establishing this tradition that the throne should not afterwards pass into the hands of any foreigners.
The poet presents another reference in the concern of marriage. According to Hindu custom, some Hindu mothers betrothed their sons and daughters during their pregnancy. In this way, there were two benefits, at first there would not be any need of the horoscopes of the boys and girls and secondly they would be able to share their childhood experiences. In that case the boy and the girl were married when they still lay in cradles. The poet also pines for the same method or tradition of marriage. If the poet’s mother had, during her pregnancy, had given a promise to some other pregnant woman, his marriage could have proved a success.
Read it also: A Poem of Dedication by Nissim Ezekiel