An Ode to Death by Daud Kamal: Summary and Analysis

Read our detailed study guide on the poem An Ode to Death by Daud Kamal. Our study guide covers An Ode to Death summary and analysis.

An Ode to Death by Daud Kamal Poem:

Your ode to death is in the lifting of a single eyebrow. Lift it and see. (Conrad Aiken)

Death is more than certain, says e.e Cummings,
But the clocks go on ticking as before
And in every particle of carbon dust
There lives a diamond dream
How many galaxies yet to be explored-
How many seeds in the pomegranate of time?
The pine tree blasted by last year’s Thunderbolt
And the burn out match stick in my ashtray
Look so terribly alike
I have sat by your bedside and felt
Your sinking pulse. Are the hair and bones
Really indestructible and how long
Does it take for the eyes
To dissolve in the grave?
Two streams mingle in a forgotten river.
Between the eye and the tear
There is the archipelago of naked rocks
Only sleep and silence there-
No anchorage for grief.
I, too, have wandered in a forest of symbols
And clutched at the harlots of memory.
I have seen the “stars plummet to their dark addresses”
I have felt your absence around my neck
But let bygones be bygones
Who was the deceiver and who the deceived
Was I on a floating island
And were you on the shore?
Which one of us moved away?
(Daud Kamal)

An Ode to Death by Daud Kamal Introduction:

Ode to Death is one of the finest sonnets of Daud Kamal. This lyric is almost the extreme reality of death and it is composed in an awfully excellent way.

He has utilized images and symbolism exceptionally brilliantly. He has moreover given comparison in it. Its dialect is truly straightforward but the way in which he has passed on a more profound thought of all inclusive interface is splendid. There are three major topics in it are; to begin with is the extreme reality of passing, moment is vulnerability of life and third is unceasing life after passing. One thing which is exceptionally curiously around this lyric is that he has included two citations of two diverse American but modern writers, within the starting one after another.

An Ode to Death Summary:

In the opening lines of the poem he has quoted Conrad Aiken:

Your ode to death is in lifting of a single eyebrow. If it and see.

This first citation demonstrates that there is almost no separation between man’s life and demise. The account of man’s life end precisely when, demise get a handle on him in its arms. It occurs inside seconds and it requires even much little investment than lifting of an eyebrow. How microscopic is distance between a man and demise.

Death is more than a certain, says E.E Cummings,
But the clocks go on ticking as before

Then he takes the quotation of E.E Cummings that: Death is more than a certain. Death is an ultimate reality, it’s certain and undeniable fact. No one can escape from its grip. There is a saying of Owen Meredith that:

There is nothing certain in a man’s life that he must lose it.

Almost certainly that everybody encounters to die one day, yet it’s in like manner a reality that time bears no impact with the destruction of a spirit. Nobody can bite the dust with the sorrow of his friends and family demise, finally he need to come towards his normal life. As the needles of clock tick constantly for anybody same is the situation with people they take constantly breath with the passing of their beloveds.

And in every particle of carbon-dust

There lives a diamond dreams.

If we comprehend the concoction organization of a precious stone it’s comprised of carbon. In any case, it isn’t essential that each particle of carbon dust turns into a constituent of the precious stone or jewel itself. Like is the situation with men that it isn’t really in the fortune of each individual that he achieve every one of his wants in this extremely short liveliness. Because:

Death is certain but the time of death is uncertain

There are two lines from Hairat Allahabadi’s poetry which shows the uncertainty of life:

Aagaah apnii mout se koi basher nahiin
Saamaan sau baras ka hai pal ki khabar nahiin

How many galaxies yet to be explored—–
How many seeds in the pomegranate of time?

Human creatures has awesome aspirations and wishes throughout their life, yet it is incomprehensible for a man to satisfy them all since time resembles a pomegranate and the deeds and wishes of man are its seeds and he can’t satisfy them all. He can’t make all his wishes in extremely restricted life.
According to Bahadur Shaw Zafar:

Umr-e-daraz mang-ke laye tthe char-din
Do arzu-me kat gaye, do intezar-me

The pine tree blasted by last year’s thunderbolt
and the burnt-out match-stick in my ashtray
looks so terribly alike.

These are extremely excellent lines in light of the fact that the writer has made a correlation amongst of all shapes and sizes animal wisely. He brings up that what is a contrast between a gigantic pine tree which was demolished by a crash of thunder a year ago and a little match stick which he has copied out in his ashtray. The finish of both is same. Both need to taste the kind of death. In the event that there bite the dust an awesome nobleman of a nation and a poor homeless person of a similar country, what improvement is in the middle of both. The last goal of both is grave.  There is an Italian proverb that: 

When the game is over, the king and pawn go into the same box.

I have sat by your bedside and felt 
your sinking pulse. Are the hair and bones
really indestructible and how long 
does it take for the eyes 
to dissolve in the grave?

It’s a discussion amongst artist and a man who will kick the bucket. To express the vulnerability of life artist deliver to a man, that is on a deathbed and says I am holding your sinking heartbeat and feeling you taking final gasp. Typically it is viewed as that hair and bones of body remained long while all body parts disintegrated soon. So he requests an inquiry here that how much time your hair and bone will take to disintegrate in the grave and do I too live alive till that time. Do I have the surety of my own life that to what extent I live? It’s an exceptionally pleasant citation of Euripides about the vulnerability of life: No one can unquestionably say that he will live tomorrow.

Two streams mingle in a forgotten river,
Between the eye and tear,

In this section the writer needs to state that, the Existence of people is the mix of soul and body, and these two components blend into the extravagances and shades of life. The word ‘two streams “utilized in these lines which implies that, the human spirit and human body and which “blend into the overlooked waterway” of world. The connection amongst life and passing resembles the connection between an eye and tear. In the bustling life individuals overlook demise will come as quickly as detaches spill out of eye. Nobody realizes that when tears will start to move outside the eye correspondingly, nobody realizes that when demise will come however it will doubtlessly happen.

There is an archipelago of naked rocks
Only sleep and silence there,
No anchorage for grief.

Now the Daud Kamal introducing the state of grave after death, there is a quietness, and perpetual rest in the gathering of islands. The quietness in the island in writing is the image of risk and furthermore demonstrates the quietness of death in light of the fact that there are no more hardships of life. In reality Daud Kamal here presents the Islamic perspective about the everlasting post-existence. He says this is a position of barrel bare rocks, and there is no space of despondency, it is free from all trails. Troubles, sorrows of life.

I, too have wandered in a forest of symbols
And clutched at the hanots of memory,

In this verse the readers also seems Daud Kamal’s, personal feelings about his own past life. He says that he had indulged in ethically bad habits. He says that,

                 When I imagine his own death time, and thinks about his past life, there is nothing except the darkness of prostitutes’ have seen the stars paramount to their dark addresses I have felt your absence around my neck…

Now here Again Daud Kamal presenting the concept of death that death is a ultimate reality. Everyone have to die. We can take an example from the history, that the brave leaders like Muhammad bin Qasim and even cruel leaders like Hitler was came, but the end of all was death. Death is blind it never see who is in front of it, either it is a huge or small creature.

But let bygones be gones
Who was the deceiver and who the deceived
Was I on a floating island?
And were you on the shore,
Which one of move away.

These lines are about the inclination which a man feels when passing happens and artist has express all these inclination perfectly. He says that I am feeling that my life is moving far from me. Demise as a pitiless beast is overwhelming my life. I can feel however can’t do any do anything since I am sad. The artist is communicating cynics feeling of man. The artist says that nobody knows; either life is backstabber or demise or which one of them will bamboozle or both are offering swindle to each other. Daud kamal is making an inquiry to life that either on skimming Island or you was on a shore entirely one knows who moves away he is speaking with life that it is possible that you moved far from me or I drew close to death.

An Ode to Death Themes:

Themes of the Poem “An Ode to Death”

Conrad Aiken says that “Your tribute to death is in the lifting of a solitary eyebrow. Lift it and see”.

A tribute to death is a short ballad about the general approach of death. Demise is the focal point of the writer. It implies that passing isn’t a secret however something that can be comprehended through perception of life.

Theme of rot and decay:

In this lyric “An Ode to Death” subject of rot and decay is given. Human creatures are liable to death as well as every single thing in this world e.g materialistic things are liable to rot. By utilizing reference of ‘clock’ Daud Kamal is giving the vulnerability of time and behind this he has the view that with time everything will be done. So also the season of time of conceived and time to pass on is characterized by our maker. For instance on the off chance that we purchase something from bazar, salesperson ensure the client that we are giving you the assurance of this thing for three or four years. It implies that after this characterized ensure time thing will be lapse. Comparative case is with individuals’ life and passing. Stephen Crane says:  “Demise is a mystery of life”

Delicacy of life and fleetingness:

In this lyric it is composed that life is brief and demise is set apart as lasting. Nothing in this world is perpetual yet passing is changeless. In the wake of meeting with death there is zero chance of life any longer. Life is delicate and people are frail also. Frail things can’t get by for significant lot of time.

Theme of realism:

Demise is something through which materialistic parts of life are crushed by profound awareness. Passing isn’t just utilized as a subject yet in addition as a repeating theme. By perusing this lyric one can dissect that Death isn’t worried about specific individuals or ethnic gathering or a religion. Everybody needs to taste the kind of death.

An Ode to Death Analysis:

  • An ode to death is a lyric about a definitive reality of death that demise must occur in each one’s life. Along these lines, when a man comes in this world a fantasy is additionally conceived with him. In the lyric “An Ode to Death” the word usage utilized by Daud Kamal is best. His written work style is profoundly affected by the imagists. “Verse for him was of Yeats and Pounds”. He was the genuine child of soil.
  • The tone of the entire ballad is cynical, bleak and dull. It is brimming with tension and sensation. It doesn’t fluctuate from stanza to stanza, it stays reliable, otherworldly. The subject of death is so bleak and genuine and that earnestness scopes to its tallness by his utilizing style like jolt, grave, woods of images and so on.The poet has used metaphorical expressions in the first stanza such as:
    “And in every particle of carbon-dust
    There lives a diamond dreams”

Every man nourishes a dream which dies with his death. So, here ‘diamond dream’and ‘carbon dust’ represent death of man’s dream with his death.
“ how many galaxies yet to be explored” here the word ‘galaxies represent man’s wishes or dreams that are not yet fulfilled but death finished it.
“ The pine tree blasted by last year’s thunderbolt
And the burnt-out match-strike in my ashtray look so terribly alike”
Here poet compares the man’s death with the death of ‘pine tree’ and “match strike”. He tells about the uncertainty of death and says that thing can be big like pine tree and can be small like match-strike but everything has to taste the death.

  • “Two streams mingle in a forgotten river.
    Between the eye and the tear
    There is the archipelago of naked rocks
    Only sleep and silence there-
    No anchorage for grief.”
    In this stanza the poet describes Islamic approach using the word ‘forgotten river’ that our soul and physical body mingle in forgotten river, and we have forgotten our real aim and so busy in the luxuries of the life that we have ignored eternity. Forgotten river is the ignored eternity. ‘Sleep and silence’ symbolize the eternal peace.
  • It is inferred that “An Ode to Death” by Daud Kamal is a ballad about the sureness of death. It isn’t composed for the extraordinary region. It is an all-inclusive marvel. By utilizing diverse illustrations like ‘clock’, ‘jolt’, ‘cosmic systems’ and so on he makes the impact of neutrality. Pictures make solid pictures in our psyche. That pictures have representative translations for e.g. clock is the image of vulnerability of life as time is unverifiable. It doesn’t sit tight for anybody. Dialect utilized by Daud Kamal is exceptionally basic and simple. Development and course of action (sentence structure) of words is straightforward. Similarly imperative are between woven stanzas that make the bondage of thought all through the ballad. In the entire ode peruser winds up connected with occurring of death. Entire sonnet rotates around the opening refrain of ballad that is “Passing is in excess of a certain”. In the last he has individual emotions as he was associated with morally degenerate propensities.