What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?
When the poet looks at her mother’s face closely, she discovers that she has aged and her end is near. The feeling of her mother being old, needing care and help pains the poet as there is no one to look after her. She feels that her mother can die any moment and that then she will lose her forever. Her childhood fear of losing her mother which was then timely but now, will be forever, resurfaces. The poet feels the pain of her mother’s old age and her helplessness towards her. She has the fear of separating from her mother forever, upon her death.
Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’?
The young trees have been personified. When looked at from the poet’s moving car, they seem to be running past. The poet found it to be strikingly opposite to her mother who looked as still as a dead body.
Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their homes’?
The poet draws a comparison between what is travelling with her and what she can see outside. It’s a comparison between life and death. Her mother, is sleeping, with mouth open, like a dead body, while outside she can see children who are full of life, energy and enthusiasm.
Why has the mother been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’?
Just as the late winter’s moon is dull and lacks luster, so is her mother at the end stage of her life. Also, as the late winter moon gets overshadowed by the fog and mist in the sky similarly her mother can get overshadowed by death at any time. Both of them are nearing an end- one of season and the other of life.
What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?
The parting words of the poet show her positive attitude. She overcomes her pain and fear, assures herself and her mother that they would meet again. She is being very brave which is indicated by the use of repetition in the poem :
“smile and smile and smile……”