(188) Expositions of Chosen Poems – 2 (We Are Seven)

28 May

Click here to read in Gujarati

One more Exposition of William Wordsworth’s poem “We Are Seven” is here. I have numbered such Expositions in order to show my preparedness to give in succession many more such Posts in future. My Readers, if interested in original text of the Poem, may click here.

In the beginning, I would like to give you the summary of the poem on topic and thereafter the exposition or criticism will follow.

The poet meets a simple cottage girl in the Churchyard who is only eight years old. She is so delicate that at her childhood age, she is not aware of what death is. The poet asks her, ‘How many brothers and sisters may you be?’ Gazing towards the poet in surprise, the girl replies, ‘How many? Seven in all!’

The poet further asks, ‘Where are they?’

‘Two of us at Conway dwell and two are gone to sea. Two of us, my sister and brother, lie in Churchyard and I dwell near them with my mother. Thus, we are seven.’ The girl’s one brother and one sister were already buried in the churchyard and they are counted by her in total number of seven as if they are alive!

Now, the poet tries to make the girl understand that she should not include those two who are already dead in the number of her brothers and sisters alive. The poet explains, ‘You run about, my little Maid; your limbs they are alive. If two are laid in the Churchyard, then you are only five.’

But the innocent girl continues arguing in many ways to justify her statement as follows:

– Their graves can be seen in greenery close to each other from her cottage.

– She often knits and hems her stockings and kerchief sitting near the graves and sometimes sings song to them.

– Many times she takes her supper there in the evening thinking that they accompany her.

– Firstly her sister, Jane had died and both her brother John and she played there near her grave.

– After some time, John also had died and his grave was made side by side.

After hearing her clear statement, the poet once again asks her the same question, but she answers firmly in the same words as ‘We are seven!’ The poet still argues that they are already dead and they are in heaven, but all his efforts are in vain. She is determined in her belief that they are seven, seven and seven.

Above poem seems to be a child poem looking towards its simplicity and lucidity at the first glance, but there is the combat of justification and falsification from the sides of the poet and the girl character of the poem respectively. The poet tries to justify that all they brothers and sisters are five in real sense, but the girl is firm in her statement that they are seven. Central idea of the poem is that any deceased dear one is never forgotten by the living person owing to mutual strong tie-up with the thread of love and affection. The living person thinks as if the deceased is alive. Here, the girl already knows that her brother and sister are no more. She knows also that their physical appearance is not visible, but she feels that they are alive in her memory.

Life and death are the truths of nature. Nobody can deny them and how we can deny when we hear of numerous children newly born and many people of any age equally dying around the world. Old go and new come; it’s the cycle of the universe. Life is life until we die and it is the very fact that the life is going to end one day. We exactly don’t know what becomes of the deceased; but, we obviously know what impacts, little or more, fall on the living relatives of the deceased ones.

My friends, my exposition of the poem – ‘We are seven’ is over here; but as usual, I won’t forget to give you a very interesting quote of Morion Howard as ‘Life is like a blanket too short.  You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.’

Hopefully, you would have enjoyed my post.


– Valibhai Musa


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5 responses to “(188) Expositions of Chosen Poems – 2 (We Are Seven)

  1. Harnish Jani

    May 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

    ્મારાથી ઇંગ્લીશ ફોન્ટમાં લખાતું નથીઆ કોમેન્ટના સેક્શનમાં-
    બહુ બ્રિલીઅન્ટ સ્મીક્ષા અને સ્મજણ -મઝા આવી ગઇ મોરિયોન હાવર્ડ નું કોટેશન ગમ્યું.


  2. Sharad Shah

    May 28, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Dear Valibhai;
    Truly speaking, I don’t enjoy English poems compared to our Gujarati, Hindi or any other poem in Indian language. I am not much known to Asian poems but I guess, those will have better taste then English poems.
    To my understandings, human body is divided in male and female and similarly the earth or the culture on the earth is also divided in male and female. Eastern part of the earth is female and has more of feminine characteristics. Whereas, the western part of the world is male and more of masculine quality and characteristics.
    Male is brain oriented and female is heart oriented. Male and female has different characteristics, as they are on different plain. Functions and characteristics of brain and heart are also different. Brian is interested in logic, science, physics, history, power, strength so on and so forth. Whereas heart is more interested in love, affections, beauty poetry, music, dance etc etc. which are feminine quality. Hence you will find that eastern music, dance, and other arts including poetry is of much more high quality and taste then those of western. You will also find that great scientists, scholars, historians, athletes, warriors are from western countries and not from eastern countries. This is my perception and it may differ to others opinion. But before I give my comment on the poem of William Woodworth, I expose my mindset. I may be wrong in my perception.
    To my perception the poem reflects nothing but an attachment or bondage with brothers and sisters in the mind of a child. A mind of a child is not ready to accept the fact, knowingly well that her brother and sister do not exist anymore, but lying in the grave yard. Some time the elders also give them wrong information about the death and the mind of a child takes it as granted, as the words are spoken by his/her mother or father, who is supreme for the child. In case of the girl who is counting seven instead of five, even after arguments with the author, seems wrongly taught by the parents, as we always tells our children after the death of our dear family member that he/she has gone to Gods House.
    Against this take out our any Hindi or Gujarati poem and compare the taste and beauty of both. You may find, what I have said has some substance in it.
    His Blessings;


  3. Valibhai Musa

    May 28, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Thank you very much, Sharadbhai.

    Your comments are always worth reading. As you know, my blog is bilingual; and therefore I keep in my mind that both my Gujarati and English Readers should be satisfied with my posts.

    We cannot make any generalization that particular language has very good literature and others don’t have. It is true that the literature of Regional languages could not spread worldwide in spite of being it superior. It is but natural that any literature written in any International language has much more scope to reach many people.

    With warm regards,



  4. Rajendra M.Trivedi, M.D.

    May 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Life and death are the truths of nature.

    આ સત્યને કોઈ ટાળી ના શકે!

    Rajenddra Trivedi,M.D.



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