Say This City Ten Million Souls Summary Questions Notes

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SAY THIS CITY HAS TEN MILLION SOULS by W.H. Auden 

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Text | Poem Words | Content | Verses

Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:

Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,

Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:

We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,

Every spring it blossoms anew;

Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said:

‘If you’ve got no passport, you’re officially dead’;

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;

Asked me politely to return next year:

But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:

‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’;

He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;

It was Hitler over Europe, saying: ‘They must die’;

We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,

Saw a door opened and a cat let in:

But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,

Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:

Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;

They had no politicians and sang at their ease:

They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,

A thousand windows and a thousand doors;

Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;

Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

Say This City Ten Million Souls Summary Questions Notes

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Explanation Line by Line | Poem Explanation With Quotes

  • Say this city has ten million souls, 
  • Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes: 
  • Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, 
  • Yet there’s no place for us.

Lines 1-4

We find that the German Jew husband tells his wife that the city in which they are trying to find shelter has at least ten million people. Some of them have big and grand houses and some have poor dwellings. But there is no room for them because they are Jews. 

  • Once we had a country and we thought it fair, 
  • Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there: 
  • We cannot go there now, my dear, 
  • We cannot go there now.

Lines 5-8

The German Jew couple is thinking that once they had their own country which was very beautiful and prominent on the map of the world. But now they cannot go there.

  • In the village churchyard there grows an old yew, 
  • Every spring it blossoms anew: 
  • Old passports can’t do that, my dear, 
  • Old passports can’t do that.

Lines 9-12

The German Jew husband tells his wife that natural things renewed my own as yew tree of their country but passports have not such quality. 

  • The consul banged the table and said; 
  • ‘If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead’: 
  • But we are still alive, my dear, 
  • But we are still alive.

Lines 13-16

The German Jew couple contacts the consul of America but is told that they are dead if they have no passports. The Consul refused the existence of a person who is alive and present before them. To the consul, the documents are more important than human beings. The husband becomes surprised by this inhuman behavior. 

  • Went to a committee, they offered me a chair; 
  • Asked me politely to return next year: 
  • But where shall we go to-day, my dear, 
  • But where shall we go to-day?

Lines 17-20

The German Jew couple contacts a committee but is advised to come next year. But the problem is that they have no stay till that time. 

  • Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said: 
  • ‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread, 
  • He was talking of you and me, my dear, 
  • He was talking of you and me.

Lines 21-24

The German Jew couple contacts a politician but he says that such immigrants will create economic problems. The husband becomes surprised by this inhuman behaviour. 

  • Though I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky; 
  • It was Hitler over Europe, saying. ‘They must die’; 
  • O we were in his mind, my dear,
  • O we were in his mind.

Lines 25-28

The German Jew husband tells his wife that Hitler is still in rule with full boom. And he is still crushing the Jews. So return is impossible. 

  • Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
  • Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
  • ut they weren’t German Jews, my dear, 
  • But they weren’t German Jews. 

Lines 29-32

The German Jew husband tells his wife that for Americans, dogs and cats are more valuable than that of German Jews. The husband becomes surprised by this inhuman behaviour. 

  • Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
  • Saw the fish swimming as if they were free: 
  • Only ten feet away, my dear, 
  • Only ten feet away.

Lines 33-36

The German Jew husband tells his wife that even the fish are living a cooperative and free life but men are not. So human beings are below than animal level.

  • Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees; 
  • They had no politicians and sang at their ease: 
  • They weren’t the human race, my dear, 
  • They weren’t the human race.

Lines 37-40

The German Jew husband tells his wife that even the birds are living a cooperative, free and happy life. It is because they are free from the curse of politicians, patriotism, nationality, section, races, and classes. So human beings are below than animal level.

  • Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors, 
  • A thousand windows and a thousand doors; 
  • Not one of them was ours, my dear, 
  • Not one of them was ours. 

Lines 41-44

The German Jew husband tells his wife that he sees in his imagination roomy and grand buildings in which a lot of people are living. But there is no room for them because they are Jews. 

  • Stood on a great plain in the falling snow; 
  • Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro: 
  • Looking for you and me, my dear,
  • Looking for you and me.

Lines 45-48

Standing on the open plain of snow, the German Jew couple thinks of their country where soldiers of Hitler may be looking for them. They are confused because they can neither go back nor enter the new city. 

Comments:-

Nationalism is an appalling disease. It is the measles of mankind.

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Reference to the Context with Explanation

Reference:-

These lines have been taken from the poem “Say This City Ten Million Souls” written by W.H Auden. 

Context:-

In this poem, the poet claims that nationalism is the religion of hell, and modern man is bound in numberless shackles of hellish patriotism, race, color, nationality, passports and visas etc. The poem depicts the poor condition of friendless, helpless, shelterless, and lifeless German Jew refugees who fled from their country in afraid of Hitler’s harassment.

Explanation:- 

Note: The lines in brackets could be added to the beginning of the explanation of every stanza.

(The twentieth century is known in history as the century of Fascism. Hitler says that “death” is the final solution to the Jewish problem. This pathetic, tragic, and ironic poem is criticism of fascism, the narrow-mindedness of Americans as well as political distribution of the world. We come to know how the world is icy and stony.) 

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Important Questions and Answers

  1. Way is the refugee in ‘Say this city has ten million souls’ declared “officially dead” when he is actually alive?
  2. The poet has used several numerical images. What effect does this create? 
  3. Why were the German Jews forced to migrate to America?
  4. How is the poet treated at the hands of passport officials / Consul?
  5. How is lot of animal and birds better than the Jews?
  6. Nationalism is an appalling disease, discuss with the reference of ‘Say this city has ten million souls’.
  7. What is the role of Hitler in this poem? 
  8. Is this poem a criticism of fascism?
Say This City Ten Million Souls Summary Questions Notes

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Summary, Theme & Critical Appreciation

Multi-Answer For All The Above Questions

Note: You can write this answer for any question related to the poem Say This City Ten Million Souls!

In this poem, the poet claims that nationalism is the religion of hell, and modern man is bound in numberless shackles of hellish patriotism, race, color, nationality, passports and visas etc. The poem depicts the poor condition of friendless, helpless, shelterless, and lifeless German Jew refugees who fled from their country in fear of Hitler’s harassment.

The German Jew couple contacts the consul of America but is told that they are dead if they have no passports. The Consul refused the existence of a person who is alive and present before them. To the consul, the documents are more important than human beings.

The poet has used numerical images to show the hostile behavior of American people towards their fellow beings i.e., ten million souls, birds, huge buildings, passports, and ten thousand soldiers. The sense of deprivation is conveyed through the image of the pampered dog, the fish which swim freely, and the birds that sing in the woods; human life falls beneath the animal level. It is because animals have no politicians.

The twentieth century is known in history as the century of Fascism. Hitler says that “death” is the final solution to the Jewish problem. This pathetic, tragic, and ironic poem is criticism of fascism, the narrow-mindedness of Americans as well as political distribution of the world. We come to know how the world is icy and stony. 

“Nationalism is an appalling disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Summary Questions Notes

These are some other questions that may be important according to the examination.

  • What is the moral lesson of the poem? 
  • What is the basic theme of the poem? 

Ans:- 

1st Para of Multi Answer + In this poem Jew is the symbol of a mean and malicious creature of the world, who is now in trouble. But even in this case, the poet conveys the lesson of humanism. He says that we should hate the sin but love the sinners. We should follow the humanism of D. H. Lawrence, One World Government of Russell, and the idea of Bernard Shaw who says “You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race” + 4th Para of Multi Answer.

Say This City Ten Million Souls Poem Summary in Urdu

اس نظم میں ، شاعر نے دعویٰ کیا ہے کہ قوم پرستی جہنم کا مذہب ہے ، اور جدید انسان بے بنیاد طوطوں ، نسل ، رنگ ، قومیت ، پاسپورٹ اور ویزا وغیرہ کے بے شمار طوقوں میں جکڑا ہوا ہے۔

اس نظم میں بے یار و مددگار ، بے سہارا ، بے گھر ، اور بے جان جرمن یہودی پناہ گزینوں کی خراب حالت کو دکھایا گیا ہے جو ہٹلر کی ہراسانی کے خوف سے اپنے ملک سے فرار ہوگئے تھے۔

جرمنی کے یہودی جوڑے نے امریکہ کے کونسل سے رابطہ کیا لیکن بتایا جاتا ہے کہ اگر ان کے پاس پاسپورٹ نہیں ہے تو وہ مر چکے ہیں۔

کونسل نے ایسے شخص کے وجود سے انکار کردیا جو ان کے سامنے زندہ اور موجود ہے۔ کونسلر کے لئے ، دستاویزات انسانوں سے زیادہ اہم ہیں۔

شاعر نے عددی تصویروں کا استعمال امریکی لوگوں کے ساتھ اپنے ساتھیوں یعنی اپنے دس ساتھیوں ، پرندوں ، بڑی عمارتوں ، پاسپورٹ ، اور دس ہزار فوجیوں کے ساتھ کیے جانے والے برے سلوک کو ظاہر کرنے کے لئے کیا ہے۔

لاپرواہ کتے ، آزادانہ طور پر تیرنے والی مچھلی اور جنگل میں گانے والے پرندے کی شبیہہ کے ذریعے احساس محرومی کا احساس پہنچایا گیا ہے۔ انسانی زندگی جانوروں کی سطح سے نیچے آتی ہے۔ یہ اس لئے کہ جانوروں میں سیاستدان نہیں ہوتے ہیں۔

بیسویں صدی تاریخ میں فاشزم کی صدی کے نام سے مشہور ہے۔ ہٹلر کا کہنا ہے کہ “موت” یہودی مسئلے کا حتمی حل ہے۔

یہ قابل رحم ، المناک اور ستم ظریفی نظم فاشزم ، امریکیوں کی تنگ نظری کے ساتھ ساتھ دنیا کی سیاسی تقسیم پر تنقید ہے۔ ہم جانتے ہیں کہ دنیا کس طرح برفیلی اور پتھرائو ہے۔

“قوم پرستی ایک خوفناک بیماری ہے۔ یہ انسانیت کا خسرہ ہے۔”

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