Childhood Poem Summary in English by Markus Natten

Childhood Poem Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. Childhood is written by Markus Natten.

Learncram.com has provided Childhood questions and answers pdf, extract questions, important questions, short summary of the poem Childhood, theme, figures of speech, central idea, poetic devices, reference to context, Childhood class 11 summary in hindi, critical appreciation analysis, poem ka meaning in hindi, poem analysis, line by line explanation, explanation Stanza by Stanza.

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Childhood Poem Summary in English by Markus Natten

Childhood Central Idea of the Poem

In this poem the poet thinks deeply over the question of his lost childhood. Childhood is a stage of innocence in which the child believes others and loves unconditionally. The poet has tried to identify some stages of his life when his thoughts and perceptions of the world changed. The poem describes the first step to maturity or loss of childhood when one is able to think logically and rationally. Forming one’s own opinion and not getting influenced by others is also a sign of maturity or loss of childhood.

The poem also hints at the hypocrisy prevalent in our society, where people pretend to be nice to each other but in reality they do not like each other.

Childhood Poem Summary in English

Childhood Stanza Wise Explanation of The Poem

Stanza 1
When did my childhood go?
Was it the day I ceased to be eleven,
Was it the time I realised that Hell and Heaven,
Could not be found in Geography,
And therefore could not be,
Was that the day!

Word Meanings:
go – end
ceased to be – stopped being
realised – understood

Explanation: The poet wonders when he lost his childhood. He reflects that perhaps it was the day when he crossed the age of eleven. Maybe it was the stage when he realised that the concepts of Hell and Heaven, about which he had been taught since “his childhood, did not exist in reality. Geography textbooks did not give the location of any such places. The poet realises that he might have lost his childhood when he gained his rational outlook due to getting educated.

Stanza 2
When did my childhood go?
Was it the time I realised that adults were not all they seemed to be,
They talked of love and preached of love,
But did not act so lovingly,
Was that the day!

Word Meanings:
seemed – appeared
preached – taught
act – behave
lovingly – with compassion or love for others

Explanation in this Stanza, the poet reflects that maybe the loss of childhood occurred when he was able to see through the hypocrisy of adults. These people followed double standards, actually following and preaching different standards of behaviour. They told the poet to be loving and caring; however they themselves were argumentative, violent and discourteous. Their behaviour was a far cry from the love they sermonised about and advocated so reverently to the child. Perhaps, says the poet, recognising broken trust was a major step towards adulthood.

Stanza 3
When did my childhood go?
Was it when I found my mind was really mine,
To use whichever way I choose,
Producing thoughts that were not those of other
people, But my own, and mine alone
Was that the day!

Word Meanings:
really mine – when not influenced by others’ opinions
whichever – any
producing – creating
thoughts – views, opinions coming from the poet’s mind

Explanation: The poet asks the same question again and again but with different options. He is trying to guess when he actually lost his childhood. Perhaps, it was the day when he realised that his mind could think independently, forming his own opinions and being able to take his own decisions.

He gained a sense of individuality, which set him free from the preconceived opinions of others. His own individual opinions and experiences shape his thoughts now and he realised that this might have been the time when he lost his childhood innocence completely.

Stanza 4
Where did my childhood go?
It went to some forgotten place,
That’s hidden in an infant’s face,
That’s all I know.

Word Meanings:
forgotten – unremembered
hidden – concealed, kept out of sight
infant – small child

Explanation: In this Stanza the poet changes his question. The poet now wonders where his childhood has gone. He reflects that may be his childhood has gone to an unremembered place.

The poet also says that childhood can be found in the innocent face of a child who does not have any pretensions and rationality and who trusts others unconditionally. In other words, a small child is full of innocence and there one can find one’s own childhood.

Childhood Poetic Devices Used in the Poem

Alliteration: In this figure of speech, a number of words having the same first consonant sound occur close together in a series. For example. ‘Hell and Heaven’, ‘that the day’, ‘my mind’, ‘whichever way’ etc. All these word combinations are used in this poem.

Antithesis: This figure of speech refers to the placement of opposing or contrasting ideas together. This emphasises the difference between the two ideas and adds interest to writing. It can be seen in the use of words Hell and Heaven.

Enjambent: This figure of speech refers to the practice of running lines of poetry from one to the next without using any kind of punctuation to indicate a stop. The example is in the second line of the second Stanza.

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