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Night of the Scorpion Appreciation | Explanation STD 10 KUMARBHARATI

Written by Sachin Raut

Night of the Scorpion Appreciation | Explanation STD 10 KUMARBHARATI

Night of the Scorpion Appreciation: Dear students, the poem, Night of the Scorpion will be asked to write your appreciation of the poem for four marks in your exam. With the help of this appreciation, students will write the appreciation of the poem in their language. The explanation of the poem Night of the Scorpion will be helpful to understand the poem in detail.

Introduction: Night of the Scorpion Appreciation

  • Nissim Ezekiel (1924-2004) was an Indian Jewish poet, actor, playwright, editor and art-critic. He was a foundational figure in post-colonial India’s literary history, specifically for Indian writings of a wider range.
  • The poet remembers the incident when his mother was stung by the scorpion and he saw how the people came around and started to tell about the myth and superstition on sting of scorpion. The poem depicts the selfless love of a mother, who is stung by a scorpion.


I remember the night my mother

was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours

of steady rain had driven him

to crawl beneath a sack of rice.

Parting with his poison – flash

of diabolic tail in the dark room –

he risked the rain again.

The peasants came like swarms of flies

and buzzed the name of God a hundred times

to paralyse the Evil One.

With candles and with lanterns

throwing giant scorpion shadows

on the mud-baked walls

they searched for him: he was not found.

They clicked their tongues.

With every movement that the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother’s blood, they said.

May he sit still, they said

May the sins of your previous birth

be burned away tonight, they said.

May your suffering decrease

the misfortunes of your next birth, they said.

May the sum of all evil

balanced in this unreal world

against the sum of good

become diminished by your pain.

May the poison purify your flesh

of desire, and your spirit of ambition,

they said, and they sat around

on the floor with my mother in the centre,

the peace of understanding on each face.

More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours,

more insects, and the endless rain.

My mother twisted through and through,

groaning on a mat.

My father, sceptic, rationalist,

trying every curse and blessing,

powder, mixture, herb and hybrid.

He even poured a little paraffin

upon the bitten toe and put a match to it.

I watched the flame feeding on my mother.

I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with an  incantation.

After twenty hours

it lost its sting.

My mother only said

Thank God the scorpion picked on me

And spared my children.

– Nissim Ezekiel


diabolic : having the qualities of devil or wicked

paralyse : to stop an activity

diminished : to lessen; reduce

groaning : a mournful sound conveying pain or grief

sceptic : one who doubts general beliefs

rationalist : a person who believes in reason and knowledge than opinion and

incantation : the chanting of words that claim to have magical power

 Explanation: Night of the Scorpion Appreciation

  • The poet remembers the incident that was a night when his mother was stung by a scorpion. It has continuous rain for ten hours and due to the rain the scorpion crawled into the house and hid beneath a sack of rice. It was dark and probably his mother came to the sack of rice and that time the scorpion parted his poison by his wicked tail in mother’s toe and he ran away and risked to go in the rain again.
  • After that, the peasants (farmers) came to know about the incident and started to come with the crowd into the house like swarms of flies. They started to chant the names of God so that the positive power will stop the Evil Power of poison. Deu to the Candles and lanterns light their shadows throw on the mud-baked wall and the shadows looked like the giant (big) scorpion.  They started to communicate. They said that with every movement of the scorpion, the poison moved in the blood of the mother and it hurt to mother more.
  • Then they assumed that the scorpion may sit without any movement. The farmers believed in their myth that due to the pain, it may be the sins of the mother’s previous birth are burned away tonight. Then they said the suffering of the mother due to poison may decrease the misfortunes of the mother’s next birth. They said that in this unreal world, the pain may equal and will balance all evil by good work, and by the good in such an unreal world the evil is reduced.
  • The pain of poison will balance the sum of evil and the sum of good and because of this evil will reduce. The poison may purify mother’s flesh of desire and mother’s spirit of ambition and then they sat around mother as she was in center. They showed just as great understanding on their faces.
  • The poet says that on that night many neighbours came with more candles and lanterns. That night was endless rain and due to rain more insects but still, Mother was suffering with pain and groaning on the mat.
  • Then the poet says about his father that his father was a sceptic (one who doubts general beliefs) and rationalist (a person who believes in reason and knowledge than opinion and belief) so he started to apply every curse and blessing with powder, mixture, herb, and hybrid on the bitten toe. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toe and lit up fire on it. The poet watched the flame of fire on the toe. The poet watched the holy man perform his acts to control the pain of poison by chanting some magical words. The poet says that after twenty hours the pain of poison vanished from the mother’s body.
  • The poet says that after vanished the pain, my mother thanked God that the scorpion bit her and spared the children. In the end, the poet wants to tell about the mother’s love and concern for her children.

Appreciation of the Poem: Night of the Scorpion Appreciation

  • The title of the poem, Night of the Scorpion is very apt and suitable for the theme of the poem. The poem is written by the great Indian poet Nissim Ezekiel. The poem is based on the real instance of the poet and that instance the poet expressed in the poem Night of the Scorpion.
  • The theme / central idea of the poem is about how people are so superstitious. The poet tells the instance when the scorpion stung his mother and when it came to know to all his nieghbhours, they started to come to the poet’s home. They talked about so many myths and superstitions about the next birth, previous birth sins, and purification of body and spirit. At the end of the poem, the poet expresses the mother’s love and affection for her children.
  • The poem is free verse. It has not any rhyming words or rhyme scheme. In the poem, there are figures of speech such as Simile, Metaphor, Repetition, Alliteration, and Personification, Onomatopoeia to make the poem more effective. The language of the poem is simple and in narrative form.
  • My favourite lines in the poem are “My mother only said thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children” By these lines the poet tells that every mother loves and is concerned about her children. Mother takes all evil on her to spare her children.
  • I like the poem very much and I am inspired by the poet’s thoughts. In the poem,  I learned that do not be over superstitious about things. In the end, the poet tells that the mother is the only person who takes all evil on her she intends that her children always keep safe in her love and affection.

You may also learn about the Poems:

  1. Where the Mind is without Fear…
  2. All the World’s a Stage
  3. Animals
  4. The Pulley
  5. 10th Class English Unit Test 1

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Sachin Raut

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