Disillusionment Poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English


Faiz Ahmed Faiz is an influential revolutionary poet who penned down the poem “Disillusionment” to urge the readers to accept death in its truest form. The poem shows that there is no escaping death so readers should accept death as a part of life. It is only Go who can escape death as He is immortal. The poem presents the fact that everything in this universe has certain bounds and nobody can cross those boundaries. But the only way to overcome it is by finally taking the last breath. God has prepared a multitude of things beyond life for one to see and it is only through death one can achieve that. 

About the poet

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a Pakistani writer and poet, was one of the most celebrated Urdu poets of the 20th century. He was originally involved with the Progressive Writers’ Movement and advocated for social change and political activism. Faiz’s poetry reflected the inner turmoils of mankind and his further concern for social injustice meted out to humans. His poems have a rich lyrical quality and evokes beautiful images all the while exploring poignant themes of love, revolution and marginalization of the society. His political activism reflects in his poems, especially in his works like “Dast-e-Saba,” “Zindan-Nama,” and so on. 


Originally written in Urdu, the poem is later translated to English to engage a wider readership. The poem follows no conventional structure according to the literary traditions. Perhaps the poet did so intentionally to show that even death follows no rules and one should accept it as it is. 

Summary and Analysis

Line 1-3

No more effort likely; talk of soaring high over!
We are done throwing net over stars and invading the moon!
So what other tomorrows can we promise these eyes?


In the beginning of the poem the speaker talks about the efforts made as a barrier in the path of death to postpone it but it failed miserably. Faiz says that in spite of their best efforts, they are failing and slowly losing strength and courage. No one can promise a tomorrow as no one knows whether one will remain alive or not. The poet hinges on the idea of destiny precariously at the beginning of the poem. 


The fact that they are losing strength is only because there is no action that can actually reverse death. Death, the poet marks, is inevitable. He believes that since people have understood they can accomplish nothing in front of death, endeavors are meaningless, which points out they are all fading away. Death cannot be avoided by anyone. The clock continues ticking even if one stops to grief for a lost one. Bereavement doesn’t slow down the fragility of life; it keeps ticking towards death. Life is no longer measured in terms of achievement as death consumes all and leaves no mark behind. Even though death is indeed certain, the uncertainty arises over the time of death.

Lines 4-6

With what other hollow, false dreams can we console a naive heart?
Sweet lips, sweet breath or such things no longer a topic of interest now; a happy heart, a pleasing sight no longer a remedy for life.


In the next following lines the speaker’s perspective shifts as he talks about the boundaries placed around every living thing. He said the “naive heart” might be reluctant to believe or might believe otherwise but there is no remedy for an everlasting life. All that came from dust must go back to dust. No one can reverse the effect as no longer such topics of “sweet breath” matters to death. Death spares no one.


The poet highlights the fact that humans are helpless. They cannot reverse the effects of death because it is something beyond its control. No one can enter the region of death with its fight and no one can make the death disappear, just as none of the living beings have the power to return after viewing that exposed zone of death. Only God has the power to outlive death as He is immortal. The poet has constructed certain beautiful lines in this poem to project death as not to be feared at. Fighting death is a foolish move as one cannot escape from the clutches of dying. 

Lines 7-9

Forget the tales for survival, why bother getting involved in them now?
What’s still open is the matter of Death; we can discuss it whenever we want; this is your shroud, this is mine; this is my grave, that’s yours.


The poet takes a personal spin in the concluding lines and remarks that soon he will enter “my grave” wearing “my shroud.” The poet aligns his fate with the other, here the readers. Neither will he escape death nor will he stop preventing it. The poet doesn’t care for tales “for survival” as he knows in front of death he will be utterly powerless. 


Here the poet says that everyone, including him, is powerless to escape death’s grasp and hence, urges his audience to face reality head-on and prepare for the inevitable end. Even though poets do create an imaginary world to escape from the harsh and bitter realities of life, here Faiz truly means waiting and accepting his death which would consume him completely. The main idea revolves around the fragility of life. Death and dying is indeed bleak and morose and macabre but that shouldn’t scare one away. Life is incomplete without death. It doesn’t matter which one of them is out to deceive as at the end everyone will get to taste death.