A Poem on Pure Truth: Idle Hands by Deola Adelakun


Idle Hands

If you see a lazy child

Call him a thief

If he protests, ask of his work

How does he wave morsels a day?

Up late a lazy child wakes

What he finds he eats


He does not roast his game

A cock crows

A lazy man frowns

Why is too early for cockcrow?

A lazy man said

It seemed he had all night through

Laziness is the nation’s enemy

It ends in slave labour

And makes man poor

Brief of the Poem

The poet talks plainly to the lazy person. This is the bitter truth for the lazy when the poet says if you see a lazy child, call him a thief.

The mind of the poet is that laziness will result in stealing. Even, the bible says he who does not work should not eat

One of the habits of the lazy is frowning. The lazy man frowns when cock crows. He will want to have a night to sleep.

Another habit is that he eats what he finds because he is lazy. Everybody is expected to work so that there is something to eat. Faith without physical work is vain.

Men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life are workers and they will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion.

The taste for the war of hunger will die out of the house of diligent people partly because it will involve long and severe work for all.

The poet encourages and emphasizes diligence does not kill; work refusal is a disgrace. We have to be hard-working and diligent in life.

The poet concludes that laziness is the nation’s enemy. It ends people in slave labor and makes a man poor.

Word List and Meanings 

Protests: Disgrace

Game: Wild animal

Morsels: Small pieces of food

Practice Questions

1. What is the nation’s enemy? (a) labour (b) hard work (c) laziness (d) disgrace

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2. What is the name of a lazy child? (a) poor (b) thief (c) writer (d) slave

3. The example of the first stanza is ____________(a) quatrain (b) octave (c) sestet (d) septet

4. The consequence of a lazy child ___________ (a) sweat (b) richness (c) crown (d) poverty

5. The poet concludes that ______________ (a) we should be serious (b) we should be hardworking (c) we should be indolent (d) we should be playful

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