‘Reminiscence Of My Mother, Filling In Blank’ by Riyas Qurana is a free verse poem written in the first person with ten stanzas that convey the story of the narrator missing his mother so he dreams up a world in which women, in general, would be superior beings that would bless the earth. Perhaps his mother did not live an ideal life, so he is now creating a world in which she would be honored. The title of the poem is the only thing that allows the reader to understand that this poem is dedicated to the narrator’s mother; “Filling in Blank” could easily be portraying that this poem fills in the blanks of his mother’s life; it is everything he wanted and wished for her to have experienced. You can read the full poem here.
Reminiscence Of My Mother, Filling In Blank Analysis
I created the night with light
And light with night.
The first stanza of this poem is actually a couplet. This couplet introduces the imaginary world the narrator is creating throughout the poem. Line one states that he has created the night with light, possibly implying that he decorated the night sky with the light of the stars. Line two continues his creation of the night sky by stating that he has created the light with the night. Because this is impossible, it gives the reader a glimpse of what the rest of the poem contains. Through this couplet, the reader is informed that the narrator is responsible for creating the world the reader is going to be exposed to throughout the poem. This couplet also displays the logic that is to be expected for the rest of the stanzas: misconstrued ideologies about what the world should be like in the eyes of the narrator. By openly declaring himself to be the creator the narrator is relaying that the poem is very personal and he is very invested in its story.
I created the sea with smoke and hill with water
And earth with clouds.
The second stanza consists of three lines that continue to emphasize the impossibility of the creation the narrator is taking credit for. Line three stresses that the narrator feels fully in charge of his creation and does not set any logical boundaries for his fabrication. He claims to build a sea with smoke and a hill with water, this imagery suggests that his world is quite mystical or magical with waves coming in made of smoke and water standing tall in the form of hills. He continues his bizarre claims by stating that they put the sky together from pieces of the earth and build the earth with clouds. The reader is left to imagine the sky being land, whilst people walk on clouds, literally. This image truly proves that the narrator is trying to paint a picture that is very far from reality.
I created trees with air and air with leaves
The third stanza moves on to describing what resides in this world the narrator has created. He mentions the trees, which are a common symbol for growth, and roots are made with air, implying they don’t exist. The air that people breathe in is further described to be made of leaves. Notice that if the trees are made of air the leaves of the trees air also made of air, so essentially the narrator is just stating that the air is made of air, perhaps he wants a little bit of normality if he wishes anyone (including his mother) to survive in this world. The second line in this couplet introduces a very absurd idea, that the men would be embedded with wombs, perhaps he wants to rid the woman of the struggle of carrying a child and having her body grow it. On the other hand, he could want to honor men with the opportunity to create another human.
Everything happen on order made by women there
The fourth stanza explains the role of women in this supernatural and bizarre world. The narrator now reveals that he wants a world where women are the center of management. They control what happens and administer what needs to be taken care of. The second line in this stanza states that the Gods are then cursed ( by him or the women) to roam from tree to tree. This is an obvious reference to the story of Adam and Eve. By flipping the role of man and god and also throwing a curse in the “life” of gods the reader can note the anger or resentment the narrator seems to harbor against a higher power. Perhaps his mother is no longer alive and with him, so he misses her whilst blaming the gods for his situation.
Birds are the only vehicle in the town
That she found the eleventh knowledge
The narrator continues his out of the ordinary construction of his imaginary world. He states he has made it so that birds are the only means of traveling and animals are grown instead of food and that women are continuing the pursuit of knowledge and growing as individuals. It seems the only good that the narrator’s world has is the women and their lifestyles. The reason for that could be because he has dedicated this poem to the memories of his mother, implying that she loved birds and was highly intelligent, and always wanted to advance in her education by exploring it further.
Only male child is born out of wombs of men
Till they grow up.
The sixth stanza gets even weirder as the narrator declares that no man could give birth to a woman, that the men would breed men and keep their children close by until they are no longer children. Here it seems that the narrator wants to honor women to a degree that they have no connection with men altogether, almost as if the men are not worthy of giving birth to a woman. This is quite the flip in many societies as many cultures prefer male children over female children. Perhaps the narrator is including this in his world to spite this social trend, and that is why he stresses that the male children are not given any freedoms until adulthood.
Women are not born and they keep ascending
It is beyond thousands of light years.
The narrator conveys his message of the importance of women quite clearly here in the seventh stanza. He freely declares that women don’t even go through the process of natural birth, they are actually descending from above, as majestically as the reader can possibly imagine. The narrator is then quick to discuss that even night and day have completely different rules in his world, every day has seven nights and is completely not comprehensible by any reader. This is done to underline how far-fetched the narrator is willing to go in memory of his mother; it is possible she loved night more than a day so he has amplified it in his fabricated world.
No death for women in my town
Lest they are no more.
This stanza probably would not sit well with many readers as he degrades men. It makes the reader wonder what happened in the life of the narrator that could cause him to be so vile. In this eighth stanza, he proclaims no death for women while painting a very disturbing image of men continuously licking the heels of women in order to stay alive, because they will seize to exists if they choose to stop. It is very possible that most men let down his mother in her lifetime and even hurt her and the narrator is taking revenge by creating this alternate reality where they would not survive unless they worshipped her.
Women get up in the down and shake off
It is the food for the men
The narrator continues to bash and degrade men in the ninth stanza as he decides that the food for men will be excess stars that fall out from a woman’s hair. It is not explained why he is so harsh to his own gender but it is obvious that he is full of rage and has deep wounds inflicted by men and he does not want any good for men in general now.
I am looking forward
and then disappears.
The tenth stanza is the very last stanza and speaks to the reader directly. The narrator invites the reader to his fictitious town by stating that one will find it existent in vapor. This could easily suggest that the narrator is saying the only way to find a place like this is if a person is intoxicated, which is truly understandable.