Damp Stone Doorstep by Daud Kamal: Summary & Analysis

Read below our complete notes on the poem “Damp Stone Doorstep” by Daud Kamal. Our notes cover the background, summary, themes, and analysis of this poem.

Damp Stone Doorstep Introduction:

The poem is a master piece by Daud Kamal. He talks about the loss of things- generation, innocence, identity and culture. Daud Kamal thinks that desires take a person far away where they start losing the real aim of the life. He is of the opinion that this desires governed life is always an easy prey to black cats who are ready to take the vey roots of identity and culture. The poet gives a very exclusive link of the loss of identity and the role of colonizers in the life of colonized. He also illustrates that going away from the roots is easy, but, return to gain what one has lost is almost impossible.

Damp Stone Doorstep Summary:

The first stanza sets the very setting of the poem. The poet tells us about the threshold of getting entered into a place which is damp. The stone of threshold is damp it clearly indicates that this stone of the threshold is damp because of dew drops not rain and dew drops fall in night. So the setting of the poem is told which is night. This is further explained in the next lines when the poet says that the stars pollinate meaning it germinates the silky air. Star become visible in the sky in night and these stars in collaboration of the clouds send very silky, breezy and chilly winds. In such a night the black cat, which is always considered a bad omen in these nights, claws the growth of identity of a tree. The tree here could be symbolized as human being.

The poet in the second stanza talks about the loss of something. Addresses what is lost and longs for that thing. He says the absence is badly haunting him. It is very much his need and he shouldn’t have lost it. The poet laments over the loss because it was the real essence of his life. He compares himself to the rock which is pulseless as it has no heart. The poet says that the loss has made him a pulseless being and he can only watch what is going on as the rock watches.

In the next stanza, the poets talks about the importance of the loss. He says the things are lost because their importance in not realized and once we realize the importance we come to know that the things which lie in the memory are not that much important. The poet is again emphasizing the lost. He explains as the hurricane hits an island and destroys everything, similarly, when one reminiscence about the loss, his total mental fabric gets disrupted because he can only mourn. He does not want to remind himself the loss because it shakes his mentality as one of the Urdu poets have said;

Yaad e Maazi Azab Hy Ya Rab,

Cheen Le Mujh Se Hafiza Mera.

In the fourth stanza, the poet carries the same chain of thought which he talked about in the second stanza-loss. The poet further sheds light on that loss; he says the more one goes away from that lost the more he suffers. As he has said that it is the real essence of the life so people are at hug loss when they suffer because of that lost essence. He says, in the start, one does not realize the worth of that loss but a time comes when people do realize the loss but then going back to that stage impossible because a person cannot step twice into the same river. He says that going away from the loss seems very easy because an individual is all boasted by the future prospect but once he comes to the reality based analysis and wants to go back, it becomes impossible for him to go back.

In the next stanza. The poet comes to the real cause of the loss; he says that once an individual in inspired by the desires so he is at lost. He loses everything for the desires. He then says when the identity is lost then the person gets so much engrossed in the new lights that the brain cells die which clearly means that his conscience dies and the past identity with all its splendor becomes archaic. In this stanza, he gives the vey cut out to understand the real aim this poem which lies in not to be carried away by the desires which are in conflict to your standards of life based in your own religion and customs.

In the last stanza, the poet tells that time and world never wait for someone. Every next second an era is completed and a new era gets started. It simply means that people come and go but only those remain on the surface who can stand to the challenges and do not get carried away with false tinges of light. He gives a suggestion that fisherman who catches fish at the shores needs to be a good because he can fall in to the river, similarly, every individual who opts for the desires must be equipped with all the efforts of not losing his own real self.

Damp Stone Doorstep Themes:

Loss of love:

The poem gives the theme of loss of love. The poet tells the readers that losing the love means going to decay because this love makes the lover breathe. He is of the opinion that love should not be lost at all but in the end he also tells that the lovers should be ready or loss of love because it is something beyond their control.

Identity:

Identity of every individual is a crucial and important thing. It is something related to the real essence of human beings as human beings without their identity are nothing. Identity is the recognition of humans. Daud Kamal urges the readers not to lose the identity; human beings lose their identity in the wake bright future for which they sacrifice everything.

All that glitters is not gold:

The poem is an indirect allusion to the colonizers working through their constructed narratives for the subjugation of the colonized.  The poet makes the readers aware not to go after their false ideologies as they try to take you away from your own identity based in religion and indigenous culture. The poet gives the message that the narrative they have developed is not for your betterment of bright future but to make you mentally subjugated people.

Damp Stone Doorstep Analysis:

  • The poem is written in free verse.
  • The poem has didactic tone.
  • The poem is replete with the symbols that convey a number of meanings.
  • The poem gives an indirect thought of identity crises.
  • Black Cats are, in fact, the colonizers who have controlled the pine tree- a useful tree.
  • The colonizers have colonized them in the dark which means they came in the disguise as they came to Asian Sub-continent in the form of East India Company for trade.
  • The poet gives the very real perspective of the colonizers that they make the colonized lose their identity because once the identity is lost then it becomes easy to take them away from their own center.
  • He warns the readers not to lose the identity as the colonizer will try to take your identity away and makes you go into the mental state where you easily accept their dominance and through this dominance, they will exploit you for their own cause.
  • The poem is in fact a didactic and moral lesson for the readers to be aware.
  • The poem also gives the perspective of losing love. The poet thinks that love is the destination and lover is a soul-mate. He warns the readers not to lose the soul-mate because once they are lost they cannot be brought back.