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There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise,
And they're very quick to shatter all the little family ties.
Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way,
Each with strangers likes to wander, and with strangers likes to play.
But it's bitterness they harvest, and it's empty joy they find,
For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.
The poet explains that any individual is prone to achieve more success when they do so in packs. He says that one's social status or class does not indicate their level of achieving success in life. Irrespective of people belonging to rich families or poor families, people can make bad decisions which can be due to lack of awareness. People imagine themselves to be wise just because they have a rich upbringing, a good education and comforts. They decide to move away from the family, thinking that it is a wise decision to move ahead in life. People who come from a poor family may also decide, owing to insecurity or desire to achieve things in life.
The poet says that the decision to move away from family, by either people belonging to rich families or poor families, might end in a bad state. They are in a rush and very quickly shatter all the family ties. They tend to assume that success finds one in solitude. But if one does not have anyone to cheer, then there is no point in achieving success. When each family member goes in search of their pleasures, they lose the bond within the family. Most often, people like to explore newness in life. Since families are conventional and always readily available, they get tired of it, making them seek fun in strange instances and people.
Wandering alone
They like to wander with new and strange people and have fun with them. Although the newness and strange elements in the relationship can excite them, it will soon wane as there is no depth in those relationships. The poet says that one might only harvest bitterness with a stranger and hence reap the same. Also, these bonds are empty as it is established based on the feeling of void and the urge to seek a companion. The poet says that children do not have this problem as they seek the company of family at an early stage and do not wander about. Hence the children are the wisest and are the stick-together types.
Meeting strangers
Meaning of Difficult Words:
BitternessShowing hatred or displeasure
ConventionalPertaining to a traditional or familiar way
ShatterTo break in pieces
HarvestThe period of gathering something
StrangerAn unknown person
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). English Standard-9. The Stick-Together Families- Edgar Albert Guest (pp. 190-195). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.