Both poems “World! Why do you hound me? ” and “Poem” are both making the reader think by focusing on universal subjects and feelings such as human values in a rather superficial society or our own consciousness. Nevertheless the two poets manage to lead to a reflection from the reader in different ways. Juana Ines de La Cruz uses her own experience in life as an inspiration for her autobiographical poem.
Indeed the “me” and “I” omnipresent throughout the poem are referring to her character, a young and good-looking woman at the court , the “prey” of the society, who would like the people to notice her for her “Understanding” rather than for her “Beauty”. In contrast, Allama Mohammed Iqbal does not concentrate on one specific example but on a wider question asked from the very first line: “Are you Alive, Dead or DeadAlive? He obviously means that there are three states in life including being completely free to do what we aim to, being unable to make our own choice or remaining an empty body without consciousness that is to say awareness of what you are. On top of that, “World! why do you hound me? ” conveys a moral opinion on the ephemeral (“soon gone, the daily loot of Time”) and superficial, material sides of life (“Beauty, Money, Luxury, Wealth, Pretty Face, forged crown, vanities”) opposed to the mental activities (“Understanding, Truth”).
Right from the beginning, the author shows she is overwhelmed, strongly involved and passionate in her complaint by using a strong punctuation and the apostrophy “World! ” which represents the people at the court in general, full of prejudice based on the appearances. On the contrary, “Poem” introduces a dimension of religion (“God’s light; Going-to-Heaven”) as the author is a Musulman believer as well as the sense of justice with the vocabulary of a trial: “Three Witnesses, judge, evidence”. Consequently, as in “World! Why do you hound me? the reader feels accused by the authors and quite responsible for these reproaches since he is involved by the use of the second person “you”.
To emphasise the formal atmosphere of the poem, the persona uses a lively and vivid tone with orders such as the anaphora “Judge”, “Quiz”, “Call” or “Think” which clearly translate his aim which is to make the reader meditate on his life, the after life in the seventh and eighth stanzas. Moreover the author is being quite Socratic to guide the reader since he uses rhetorical questions such as “Are you only a dab of dust? . In this way there is a clear progression from subjective to objective: “Your own light, another’s light, God’s light”. In addition, the authors seem to place words above the form by putting some capital letters to highlight the key words: “Time, Truth, Life” and “Consciousness, Your Own, Aliveness” etc.
However the form of both poems are very similar in the sense that are very clear structured, with well delimited stanzas since “Poem” is constituted of thirteen short ones and “World! Why do you hound me? is a sonnet, in order to provide an impression of clarity and so to convey that the authors’ ideas are really precise. Juana Ini?? s de La Cruz also points out the trap she is suffering of by using chiasmus such as “Beauty in my Understanding/ my Understanding in Beauty” or “to unmake the vanities of Life/to unmake my Life with vanities” which represent a cross. However both poems end on a determined and unchangeable note. De La Cruz concludes her poem on the decision of struggling for what “she believes is better” while Iqbal is resignated (“Be new…
Or you are a smoke-ring, wasting, wasting”) and so summarises his convictions. In conclusion, both poems point out subjects that are still true nowadays in a consumer society where people are constantly in a hurry and do not take time to reconsider themselves although “World! Why do you hound me”, more personal but as subjective as “Poem” makes the reader think about a specific moral issue by using a concrete example, that of the author fighting for her rights whereas “Poem” deals with the meaning of life in general and so it can apply to anyone.