September first day of school explanation of the poem

For the 1st time, here on this page, I have explained with reference to the context all the stanzas of the poem September the First day of school. You can see stanza 1 to stanza 5 all fully explained with reference to the context. These are all notes of English for class 11 1st year Inter part 1 for FBISE and KPK Boards.

September, the first day of school poem explanation

Here is the stanza wise explanation of the poem. The general things like reference and the context of the poem have been given below. You will write the same reference and the same context for every stanza you will explain.


These lines (Stanza) have been taken from the poem "September, the first day of school" written by Howard Nemerov.


This poem represents the point of view of parents. The poem is the expression of mixed emotions of a father and his son when they go to school on the first day of his son’s schooling. The poem also describes and outcome of a general education.

 The poet has divided the poem into two concept based segments. The first part of the poem describes the emotions of father and son and the second part discusses the purpose of school and education.

The poet has beautifully portrayed the feelings, expectations and hopes of the father. The father remembers his own past and recalls his own first day of school when his father went to leave him to school.

Explanation of the Poem

Stanza 1 Explanation:

1st year English notes kpk board

In these lines, the narrator, as a father, taking his son to school for the first time. The first image that the reader encounters is .that of the narrator and his son walking to the school holding hands, creating powerful image of familial unity. This familial unit is immediately worried by the image is soon troubled as the narrators son eventually lets go of his fathers hand and walks into his classroom.

The poet, as a father, is impressed by the bravery and boldness of his son. The son is brave and he cries a little but let him go with great courage. The father, the poet, remembers his own first day of school when he had really a hard time letting his father go. That is why the father also has tears in his eyes.

Additionally, the enjambment at the end of the third line signifies the forced separation that must occur between father and son .in order for both of them to go on. Just as the line's stop i unnatural and forced, so is the separation between father and son.

After discussing his son's difficulties in separating from his father, the narrator discusses his own experience as a student starting out in the first grade. He notes, "Selfish tears remind me now /1 cried before that door a life ago" (4-5.) It is clear that he is crying just like his son is, but these tears are not in sympathy with his son.

The father and the son are at once united by their mutual experience of going through schooling but at the same time realizing the distance between them. There is, indeed a lifetime separating them from one another, but the experience they go through is essentially the same. Even though what his son feels is nearly identical to what he felt at his son's age, the narrator cannot help his son, and the narrator's son has to be alone in his schooling.

Stanza 2 Explanation:


In these lines, the poet tells of what is to come in the classroom, how each child's learning experience will take on its own perspective. The narrator furthers this idea of solitude in unity in the following stanza, as he states, "Each fall the children must endure together/What every child also endures alone" (6-7).

' The author has a momentary display of his own authority of having gone through this by using the words "So arbitrary, so peremptory" - in a way this is his way of showing off that he has gone through the experience of acquiring an education.

He knows what his son and his classmates will be-learning, even if they might not know it yet themselves. He knows more about their educational future than the kids know. Yet he has to allow every single one of these students to experience life on their own and stand idly by, waiting for his son to stop crying. At the same time, the words "peremptory" and "arbitrary" become an expressive metaphor for life, both the narrator's as well as his son's and his son's friends and people in general.

Life is indeed peremptory, but we are all in need to make'our own Mistakes to figure it out. The individual experience of going through school, leading one's own way through life and making one's own mistakes is invaluable and cannot be substituted.

Stanza 3 Explanation:

Stanza three, a Biblical reference, is the key. The "it" in this stanza refers to the "stuff" of the previous stanza. In these lines the poet has described the purpose and importance of education in life. The poet says the education his son will get will be as important and purposeful as the world will perceive it. 

The general views of the people about education affect the learning of the boys. The perception of the world and the meaning that it attaches to the education may bring negative reactions. As Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him just because they perceived his dream and his attachment with their father fatal for them. So, their reaction was the result of their perceptions.

The rest of his life, Joseph tried to mend the loss. He always suffered the painful memories of his childhood and paternal and family love and affection. And yet, it all turned into kindness in the end.

The poet has tried to make us realize that as Joseph became the victim of the hatred of his brothers just because the misperception, the world can give a negative reaction to what his son is going to learn in the school. But ultimately his son will serve the world and humanity with the very education.

Stanza 4 Explanation:


In these lines, the poet has described his own feelings after leaving his child at school. When his son had gone behind the classroom door, he felt sad and hopes to see his son again, well educated and groomed. The author’s choice of words indicates the pain that he experienced after being separated from his son.

Uttering the words "my child has disappeared" is a nightmare of sorts for any parent, but the narrator's choice of these words is in no way accidental. The lines prior to this declaration seem to serve the function of convincing the narrator of the importance of his son's education. Thus, the narrator seems to be listing a series of things that he learned in school in order to convince himself that the pain of the separation from his son must be endured for the greater benefit of his son.

The lines following the narrator's declaration of his son's disappearance convey the pain and sorrow that the author is experiencing, and allow the readers to gain a better understanding of what the narrator is going through. He declares. And should I live.

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Stanza 5 Explanation:


These are the last two lines of the poem. The poet says that our tears are just a rite. The poet has tried to overcome the feelings of sorrow and pain by saying this. The poet has tried to show that it is normal to leave our children to other to teach. Yet our tears are not ritual, we cannot leave our children on unknown hands. The best place of their security and safety is our own hands.

We do this to our children, as our parents did it to us, and it is a truly horrid ripping, no matter how we prepare ourselves and how much confidence we have in our schools and in our child.

It is a societal ritual, where all parents symbolically surrender their children to society, and all children accept that they will need to face the challenges of institutions without the protective gaze of their parents. He knew education and academia, and he does not offer an unconvincing declaration like "This is for the best", or "Education will expand their worlds", or even "They'll increase their earning power if they make the right choices".


  1. Your services to the youth are appreciated (Y)
    May Allah bless you with the light of knowledge and you keep spreading the light. Thankyou.

    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation.

  2. thank you so much

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