The Deliverer Poem Analysis by Tishani Doshi

The Deliverer Analysis: This poem was written from actual experience. My [own mother took] a baby to America. She told me some of the stories that the sisters at the convent told her - how rare it is for people to give away their boys, that in India it is mainly girls who are abandoned. I tried to imagine the life of this particular girl she delivered. I thought as well about my mother's own journey from North Wales to India. This is a poem about memory and the body, about where we begin and where we end up.'

Content/ Narrative

This poem is narrated by Tishani Doshi herself about a baby girl who her mother (An Indian woman living in Wales) took to the USA. This baby had been disposed of by her birth mother because her culture didn't want girls. She was dug up by a dog, found by a nun and taken by Doshi's mother to be adopted by US parents who are ready to love her despite not knowing her past.

Doshi then imagines what this girl's life would be like. She imagines her watching the videos of her childhood in the US and wonders if the girl will be told about how she was taken from the nun by her mother and given to the American mother. Will she trace her past, back in time, returning to a realisation of what really happened on the day of her birth?

Form and Structure

This poem is presented in three sections divided by asterisks to make it clear that the move from Kerala to the USA has really taken place. The third section is imagined and therefore does not have this. Incidentally, both places mentioned are places of 'delivery' - the convent represents religious salvation or delivery and the airport represents the physical delivery of people and things from around the world.

Each section is comprised of short stanzas of blank verse. These stanzas are mainly tercets (three lines each) although some have only one or two lines.

The stanzas of the first two, historical, sections are all end-stopped which gives a sense of completion and certainty regarding their events.

The Deliverer Poem Analysis

The final section contains two sentences, the second of which is very long and flows on and on over the course of several stanzas. This reflects the disjointed understanding, anxiety and horror associated with the emotions of the girl as she realises or imagines what must have happened at her birth.

The tone of the poem shifts between the horror and anger associated with discarding children and the hope and new life associated with adoption.


Mother: Our understanding of what a mother is varies during the poem. Is it the one who gives birth? Or who devotes themselves to caring for you as a child? Or someone who does a good thing for other people because they feel motherly concern?

Deliverer: The meaning of the word deliverer also varies during the poem. Is the deliverer Doshi's mother, who takes the baby on a plane to its new parents? Is it the biological mother who delivers or births the baby? Is it the one who saves the child - the nun (sister) or even the dog who digs the baby up from her buried situation and makes her visible?

The poet seems to play with these words and the meanings behind them to make the reader think about the feelings of the child herself and her future. Although she can be taken away from the situation physically, she will always be the child who was thrown away to die, whether she finds out about it or not.

The language is quite simple, using nouns which are not elaborate. Girls, dog, bone, wood. This simplicity jars with the emotional impact of the idea that babies could be 'covered in garbage, stuffed in bags'. No-one is having to embellish the story to drive home the horror of this culturally prevalent situation.

Simple vocabulary could also reflect the way that the conversation is being held in the sister's second language when she tells Doshi's mother about how she found the girl. This makes the wonder of adoption and a better future for the baby even more miraculous because it is overcoming barriers of culture, nation and language.

The American parents are described using a number of negatives, perhaps to emphasise that they, as well as the girl, are in need. 'haven't', 'don't know', 'crying'. Doshi's mother also joins in with the emotion of the moment. 'We couldn't stop crying'
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