The poet, Kamala Das is driving from her parent’s home to the airport at Cochin. Her mother, sitting beside her, is dozing with her mouth open. Her mother is very old. She is inactive, cold and lifeless at the age of sixty six. The poet feels the pain and ache of losing her mother, i.e., the fear of separation/death. The thought of her mother’s impending death came to her mind. She realised that her mother might not live for too long since she had lost her brightness and looked pale and weak. So, the poet is pained because of her mother’s ageing and nearing death. The poet distracted herself from her mother to withdraw the painful thought of the ultimate death/separation. She did not look at her mother’s old, ashen face but looked out of the car window and saw the young trees and merry children. The poet describes the young trees as ‘sprinting’ to distract her mind from unhappy thoughts of her mother’s old age. Secondly, she contrasts between the young trees and her mother. The young trees symbolise the freshness of life while the old mother symbolises passive life, ageing and death. Children are running out of their homes to enjoy themselves. They are young. On the contrary, the mother is inactive, cold and lifeless at the age of sixty-six. The poet has brought in the image of happy children running out of their homes to contrast the happy and active life of children with the sad and inactive life of her old mother. However, the joyful scene did not help her drive away the painful thought from her mind. After the airport’s security check, standing a few yards away, the poet turned her gaze again to her mother’s colourless, dull face. She had lost her brightness and looked pale and weak as she was old. The poet experienced the old familiar ache, her childhood’s fear of losing her mother. The thought of her impending death came to her mind again. The mother has been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’ because she has lost her shining skin and strength, and is like the hazy, obscure winter moon. The poet emphasizes the colourless, lifeless, inactive and cold life of her mother. The fear of her ageing and ultimate death/separation brings pain/ache to the poet. To hide her feelings, she said, “See you soon, Amma”. These parting words of the poet signify the parting on a positive note and a hope of meeting her mother again. But, indeed, it is a faint hope. She leaves a smiling face behind for her mother. But actually, She is hiding her pain, her guilt of leaving her mother. She tries to comfort herself as well as mother and thereby dispels the constant fear
of separation and death.