Kamala Das’s ‘Middle Age’ is a deeply touching poem about the agonies of a mother. It reveals how shockingly painful it can be when you are neglected by your own children.
The speaker of the poem is a mother . She thinks about her adolescent son who has come out of the cocoon of her care and affection. Like a butterfly he wants to fly out into the open world. Now he doesn’t want her except for serving tea and pressing clothes. He has also begun to be harsh and stern of face.
She remembers the funny games they used to play when he was younger. Now the son has no time for her. But the mother still needs him badly. When left alone she touches his books and weeps secretly. She hopes the happy days to come back. But the son shatters all her hopes. He turns round in disgust saying, “You have lived in a dreamworld all your life. It is time to wake up, mother.”
The poem conveys all the loneliness, pain and agony of middle age. It also sheds some light into the lack of love in human relationships. In this selfish world she cannot be one mother, but a representative of all mothers.