Night of the Scorpion
The poet of ‘Night of the Scorpion’ is Nissim Ezekiel who narrates this poem by remembering his childhood when his mother was bitten by a scorpion. He says that the continuous rain for ten hours had driven the scorpion into the house, where it crawled beneath a sack of rice. In the dark room, when his mother entered, the scorpion parted the poison into her toe in fraction of seconds and probably went out again.
The peasants of the village collected in their house in large numbers like the swarms of flies and buzzed God’s name about hundred times, praying to stop the movements of the scorpion, as they believed that with every movement of the scorpion, the poison would move in the mother’s blood. So, with the candles and lanterns, they even searched their house to paralyze the evil scorpion. But he was not found.
The shadows they formed on the wall, too appeared a scorpion to the poet. The villagers prayed that the scorpion stops and the sins of mother’s previous birth gets washed away that night or her sufferings might decrease the misfortunes of her next birth. They said this way the sums of evil might get balanced in this unreal world. They called the world unreal as every thing in this world is temporary and births and deaths keep occurring in a cycle.
They even prayed to god that the poison purifies her flesh. They sat around the mother groaning in pain. There was peace o understanding on each face as they felt that she had approached her end. The condition was becoming very messy as more neighbours were entering the house with more candles and lanterns, the insects were also increasing and the rain too continued.
The poet’s father being a sceptic and rationalist person tried powders, mixtures and herbs to cure the mother. However, he also tried prayers and blessings as it was a very problematic situation He poured some paraffin upon the bitten toe and burnt it. The priest was also performing his rites to tame the poison. Finally, after twenty hours, the sting was lost. The mother, after getting cured, thanked god that the scorpion picked her and spared her children.
Very good description of the poem. The meaning was wonderful and understandable to people who read it.