For a Five Year Old Boy Poem Summary

“For a Five-Year-Old” by Fleur Adcock is a touching and contemplative poem that delves into the complex emotions of a parent toward their young child. The poem explores the bittersweet experience of witnessing a child grow and gain independence, while simultaneously longing for their innocence and vulnerability. Read More Class 8 English Summaries.

For a Five Year Old Boy Poem Summary

For a Five Year Old Boy Poem Summary in English

For a Five Year Old Boy images

The Poem ‘For a five-Year-old is written by Fleur Adcock. In the poem, the poet ironically points out the contradictions in our day to day dealings of life. She points out the differences between what we preach and low we act. She ironically points out that by nature human beings do not practice what they preach.

The poet illustrates this human behaviour by narrating a fictitious episode in which she imagines her five-year-old child calling out to her after it sees a snail climbing up the window silly after a rainy night. The mother (Poet) goes to the child’s room and explains that it would be unkind to leave it there because it might climb down to the floor. So it is better to take care of it, before someone unknowingly squashes it. She asks the child to pick it up carefully and carry it outside to the garden and leave it there to feed on daffodil flowers.

In the next stanza the poet wonders why such a kind of faith still prevails where people still believe that character is built by mere words of advice, than by actions of others. She feels sad, because the child believed in her words and acted gently with the snail. She feels sad but amazed because the child believed the words of her mother (Poet) who was actually not gentle in her actions. The mother (Poet) had taken her words seriously even though it knew that the mother had drowned the child’s kittens and betrayed even her close relatives. The Poet had also conveyed such harsh truths to others. The harsh truth is that, it is human nature to preach one thing and practice another and that is how things go on in this world.

She strongly believes that being a mother of a child, she is right in advising her child to be good and gentle. And so both the mother and child are kind to little creatures like snails.


“For a Five Year Old Boy” poem’s exploration of a child’s growth, independence, and the parent’s desire to protect their innocence evokes a sense of nostalgia and love. Adcock’s skillful use of language and imagery provides a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of childhood, making this poem a timeless reflection on the joys and challenges of raising a child.

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