Night Of The Scorpion (Summary)
The poem ‘Night Of The Scorpion’ is a poem written by Nissim Ezekiel. In this poem, he has described an incident that he has never forgotten in his entire life. The incident is when his mother got bitten by a scorpio one night. Rather than helping his mother, all the superstitious villagers did irrational things. The poem mainly highlights the superstitions that crowds in the minds of Indians. Even in the worst condition, the superstitions come first instead of helping. The poem has eight stanzas in it without any rhyme scheme and also a different number of lines in different stanzas.
Summary of Night Of The Scorpion
Stanza 1 – ” I remember the night my mother……to crawl beneath a sack of rice.”
In this stanza, we see that the poet tells that he clearly remembers the night when his mother got bitten by a scorpion. The scorpion crawled beneath a sack of rice as the heavy rain lasted for 10 hours.
Stanza 2 – ” Parting with his poison…….he risked the rain again.”
In this stanza, the poet tells that the scorpion again went back to the rain after biting his mother with its diabolic. The poet shows anger to the scorpion about biting his mother and shows sympathy when it returns to the rain again.
Stanza 3 – ” The peasants came like swarms of flies……to paralyze the evil one.”
In this stanza, the poet tells that the villagers rush to their house as swarms of flies after hearing the incident.
Stanza 4 – ” With candles and with lanterns……moved in Mother’s blood, they said.”
The villagers start to find the scorpion and their shadows show like a giant scorpion on the walls. To stop the poison from going further into his mother’s body, the villagers wanted to stop the scorpion from moving. This is a superstition.
Stanza 5 – ” May he sit still……in this unreal world.”
They failed to find the scorpion. They started interpreting by saying that his mother’s sins from previous birth had been forgiven. Some said that she is going to die and her pain will reduce her pain from her next life. Her good deeds and bad deeds will be balanced.
Stanza 6 – ” against the sum of good……..purify your flesh.”
The poison will help to purify and refresh her spirit of ambition and flesh of desire. This thought calmed everyone in the village.
Stanza 7 – ” of desire, and your spirit of ambition, it lost its sting.”
His mother is crying due to pain. Yet nobody is concerned about that except
his father who is rational. He tries his best to save his wife. People are gathering with candles and lanterns. He uses herbal things to cure her. To tame the poison, a holy man performs some rituals and after 24 hours his mother is cured.
Stanza 8 – ” My mother only said………and spared my children.”
After recovering, his mother tells that she is glad that the scorpion bit her and not her children. It reflects motherhood and her concerns about her children.