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Geography Lesson by Zulfikar Ghose

When the jet sprang into the sky,
it was clear why the city
had developed the way it had,
seeing it scaled six inches to the mile.
There seemed an inevitability
about what on ground had looked haphazard,
unplanned and without style
When the jet sprang into the sky.

When the jet reached ten thousand feet,
it was clear why the country
had cities where the rivers ran
and why the valleys were populated.
The logic of geography —
that land and water attracted man —
was clearly delineated
When the jet reached ten thousand feet.

When the jet rose six miles high,
it was clear the earth was round
and that it had more sea than land.

But it was difficult to understand
that the men on the earth found
causes to hate each other, to build
walls across cities and to kill.
From that height, it was not clear why.


In this poem the poet describes the scene of the city, and the country from an aeroplane flying high. When the jet plane took off, the sky was clear. The poet looked out from the window. The city looked neatly planned. But on ground it looked without plan or order. It had numerous lanes and houses without style or symmetry.

When the aeroplane flew at a height of 10,000 feet above sealevel, he looked below and realised the logic of geography. It became clear to him why the cities in every country are situated on the river banks. Secondly, the people lived chiefly in the valleys. This is the level land between the hills. Land and water are primary needs of life. They attract people.

When the plane rose as high above the ground as six miles the earth looked round. It had more water than land. The poet understood the reasons why it was so. But he could not see any logic behind the division of land by raising walls of bricks and hatred, and why people went madly after one another’s throat.

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