Who is the speaker in the poem? Who are the people the speaker meets? What are they doing?
The poet himself is the speaker in the poem. First, the poet meets a street hawker. He is selling bangles. Then he meets a gardener. He is digging the ground. Last of all he meets a watchman. He is walking up and down the street watching the houses.
What wishes does the child in the poem make? Why does the child want to be a hawker, a gardener, or a watchman? Pick out the lines in each stanza, which tell us this.
The child wishes to be a hawker, a gardener, and a watchman because these people are free to
do whatever they like.
a) I wish I were a hawker, spending my day in the road, crying, “Bangles, crystal bangles!”
b) I wish I were a gardener, digging away at the garden with nobody to stop me from digging.
c) I wish I were a watchman walking the street all night, chasing the shadows with my lantern.
From the way the child envies the hawker, the gardener and the watchman, we can guess that there are many things the child has to do, or must not do. Make a list of the do’s and don’ts that the child doesn’t like. The first line is done for you.
Like the child in the poem, you perhaps have your own wishes for yourself. Talk to your friend, using “I wish I were...”
a) I wish I were a teacher teaching new things to children every day.
b) I wish I were a bird flying freely in the sky.
c) I wish I were an ice-cream seller selling delicious ice-creams.
d) I wish I were a kite-maker making beautiful kites.