you cannot know the fears i have  as I think about you  i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nigh...
or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing ...
“ The poem was written at a time when my wife and I were contemplating having a child. We subsequently did have a child – ...
you cannot know the fears i have  as I think about you  i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nigh...
or  just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing...
you cannot know the fears i have  as I think about you  i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nigh...
overwhelm your waking world with wonder with the music of other worlds, your earlier home  read to you poems written the n...
or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing ...
shadows of a sun-darkened land flow over you and the eclipse closes your eyes Bearing in mind what we know about the conte...
i cannot live with the thought of having you, loving you any other way a day without such care has no meaning What conclus...
we shall find for you a name your name shall bring light  Why is finding a name so important? In what way will her name “b...
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You Cannot Know The Fears I Have

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Analysis of the Poem

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You Cannot Know The Fears I Have

  1. 2. you cannot know the fears i have as I think about you i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nights while you sleep so loneliness does not trouble you nor hunger, nor thirst overwhelm your waking world with wonder with the music of other worlds, your earlier home read to you poems written the night before while you smile bewildered
  2. 3. or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing crushes your butterfly spirit shadows of a sun-darkened land flow over you and the eclipse closes your eyes i cannot live with the thought of having you, loving you any other way a day without such care has no meaning we shall find for you a name your name shall bring light
  3. 4. “ The poem was written at a time when my wife and I were contemplating having a child. We subsequently did have a child – in 1982. Her name is Tazkiyah.” Shabbir Banoobhai Poem was written in the early 1980’s. Political turmoil in the country. you cannot know the fears I have
  4. 5. you cannot know the fears i have as I think about you i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nights while you sleep so loneliness does not trouble you nor hunger, nor thirst overwhelm your waking world with wonder with the music of other worlds, your earlier home read to you poems written the night before while you smile bewildered I fear that I shall… I fear that I shall… I fear that I shall… To fully understand the poem it is necessary often to insert the words “I fear that I shall…” or “I fear that…” or “I fear…”:
  5. 6. or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing crushes your butterfly spirit shadows of a sun-darkened land flow over you and the eclipse closes your eyes i cannot live with the thought of having you, loving you any other way a day without such care has no meaning we shall find for you a name your name shall bring light I fear that… I fear that… I fear that… I fear that…
  6. 7. you cannot know the fears i have as I think about you i fear that i shall live only at your laughter lie awake long nights while you sleep so loneliness does not trouble you nor hunger, nor thirst That she is never in need of anything – company, food or drink … that his life will become totally dependent on the child. What does the poet realise here? What is he attempting to ensure? Who is this? How do we know? What does he anticipate will be part of her life?
  7. 8. overwhelm your waking world with wonder with the music of other worlds, your earlier home read to you poems written the night before while you smile bewildered As a poet-father/father-poet he wished to provide his daughter with a beautiful emotional environment, not an ordinary mundane one! What world is this? What do these words tell us about the father’s fears?
  8. 9. or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you even as your tiny fingers close around mine Some insensitive thing crushes your butterfly spirit What figure of speech is this? Why do you think it is appropriate? What does it tell us about the nature of birth? Part of speech? What does the poet realise here? What is this?
  9. 10. shadows of a sun-darkened land flow over you and the eclipse closes your eyes Bearing in mind what we know about the context of the poem, what could this be? How does the imagery used in these three lines “prove” your suspicions above? What are the connotations here?
  10. 11. i cannot live with the thought of having you, loving you any other way a day without such care has no meaning What conclusion does the poet reach about parenthood?
  11. 12. we shall find for you a name your name shall bring light Why is finding a name so important? In what way will her name “bring light”? With which word – used earlier in the poem – does the concept of “light” contrast?
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