Home » Blog » Wolf by Keki Daruwalla Summary and Analysis

Wolf by Keki Daruwalla Summary and Analysis

Read the poem

About the poet

Keki N. Daruwalla, born on January 24, 1937, is an Indian author who writes poems and short stories in English. He previously served in the Indian Police Service. In 1984, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book The Keeper of the Dead from India’s National Academy of Letters. In 2014, he was honored with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award.


In the poem, the poet vividly describes a wolf and explores its characteristics. The poet recalls the memory of a wolf from his early years and discusses how the wolf has changed over time. The wolf is ‘fire-lit’ means it’s fiery and passionate. Its eyes lit up in the darkness of night. However, the existence of the wolf is quite questionable. So it’s called ‘half silhouette and half myth’. so the creature exists both in the physical world and in legends. Children heard only stories or saw silhouettes instead of the full animal. His past is surrounded by the image of the wolf, moving in the forest crushing leaves under its foot to create a place to sleep. The wolf has a black nose on a yellow body like sulphur. It gives an eerie appearance of the animal.

The wolf has a great impact on the poets consciousness in childhood. Elders used to talk about the wolf as prowler, wind sniffer , throat catcher etc. to demonstrate the danger qualities to the children, so they could be disciplined in fear. the children were scared at night and behaved properly because the elders scared them with such stories. Mothers glorified the animal to scare their children. They said that the wolf’s ears were alert, and if any child cried, it would come and take it away. It can sense the shadow of people on the dark night. So any mischief would attract its attention. The wolf is given a supernatural ability as it can ‘sniff’ dreams with its senses. Its gaze is so strong that it can see anything in the dark through its eyes, that are like ‘torch’. These other stories told by elders to the children to instill fear in them.

In the last lines, he presents a contrasting picture of the wolf in the modern world. Now wolves have been killed by humans. The poet now relates to his daughters generation. Lots of ecological damage has been done by humans. Now his daughters dreams consist of gunshot which refers to the predatory nature of humans. Now men is more dangerous than wolves. Elders can no longer use wolf to discipline children because they no longer are afraid of it.

Leave a Reply