A Poem on Vanity: Vanity by Deola Adelakun



My wandering mind came to a thought

What in this globe

Do we come to do?

Do you read and hear about

Our mission here?

No response yet

I hear sermons on the pulpits

I read God’s verses

My friends alert me

That this life is all vanity

And we shall return to our origin

Unknown date

Of what gain

And use is the wealth I possessed

In dryness and rain

In the sweat of my labor

All in life

That I have to say goodbye!

What life?

I wake very early to work hard

For daily routines

And return very late in the day

But when the fruits of my labor

Yet to reap

My inquisitive mind cannot forgive me!

Alas! It could be just a few seconds

That I have to answer the call

I could not say

O, Adam’s broods

From dust come we

And to dust shall we return

We come here to die

And be back to our origin

A day, unknown!

Briefs of the Poem

Vanity to the poet is ‘nothing’. The poem vanity reminds us that this world is not forever. Life will end one day.

The poet testifies that he learned in different ways that this life is not forever. We shall return to our origin when no one knows. The poem sees this world as a fragile thing that must be held as delicate as a mirror.

The poet is concerned about the efforts of man on this earth that will end suddenly one day. Upon all the sweats of man, we have to say goodbye to the day we don’t know. No matter how longer we live here, we shall leave one day. Everything will end one day.

The poet uses biblical allusion to explicate that we are only strangers in this world. We came to transact businesses. Once we are done, we shall return home. As a proverb says in the Yoruba language, Ijo kan Nina Odile Leysin sun is je.

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The biblical reference confirms it ‘ from dust we come and we shall return to dust. That is everybody will die and give an account of what we have come here to do. We have come to die!

 Word List and Meanings

Epistle: A Long letter

Possessed: Achieved; acquired

Routines: Activities

Inquisitive: Curious; asking to know

Practice Questions

1. The ‘globe’ in line two (20) represents_________ (a) bulb  (b) word (c) ball  (d) world

2. Who are Adam’s broods as used in the poem? (a) Sons of Adam (b) Brood’s sons  (c)  Sons of Broods  (d)  Man

3. What does ‘origin’ in the poem describe? (a)  heaven  (b)  background  (c)  home  (d)  house

4. ‘From dust shall we

And to dust shall we return

5. What literary term is contained in the lines above? (a) Business allusion (b) Classical allusion (c) Biblical allusion (d) Historical allusion

6. The lines are examples of ____________________

octave (b) quatrain (c)  sextet  (d) couplet

7. The poet submits that the world is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________

Unknown (b) vanity (c) inquisitive (d) possessed.

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