Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy Poem Summary Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English Class 11th


In this poem of eight lines, the speaker conducts an inquiry upon the insignificance of man as compared to the vastness of the universe. Then a realization as to his inclusion in the general scheme of the universe dawns on the speaker. He realises the signification of the universal brotherhood of all beings in a scheme of celestial organisation.

About the Poet

Detavio Paz Lozano(1914-1998) was a Mexican writer of great renown from the twentieth century. The recurring theme of his poetry is philosophical speculation about the nature of time and love. Some of his famous works are The Sun Stone, The Bough, and the Liar (1956) The Labyrinth of solitude (1963).


The theme of this poem is the position of humans in the universe. The poet admits that although humans and their lives seem trivial in contrast to the vastness of the universe, they too have a part to play.


I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.


The poet says that he is a man, he will not live very long. In contrast, the night or the universe around him is enormous. Human lives seem very insignificant and small when compared to the vastness of the universe. But when the poet looks up, he sees the stars write. He sees the stars writing his fate and even if he does not know this fate, he understands that he too is written.

And at that very moment someone is writing his destiny, spelling out who he is and what his life will become. Therefore, although humans may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, they too have a part to play in the universe.