The panic of growing older by lenrie Peters

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The panic

of growing older
spreads fluttering winds
from year to year

At twenty
stilled by hope

of gigantic success
time and exploration

At thirty
a sudden throb of
pain. Laboratory tests
have nothing to show

Legs cribbed
in domesticity allow
no sudden leaps
at the noon now

Copybook bisected
with red ink
and failures-nothing to show the world
Three children perhaps
the world expectsit of you. No
specialist’s effort there.

But science gives hope
of twice three score
and ten. Hope
is not a grain of sand.

Inner satisfaction
dwindles in sharp
blades of expectation.
From now on the world has you.


The setting of the poem is talking about the total life process of every human being, it starts from the inception age to the point of being aged, peters let us realize that not all what we have hoped for or anticipated about the future will surely be, but there will be some twist in fate of all human.

The poet make us realize that the gradual process of mankind from is teen age makes him/her happy but one more day to joy one more day to grave, as the poem is getting to the end we find out that, the thought of aspirations has no corresponding sense of self satisfaction.

However in the last process of life a person that has enjoy life to the fullest e.g dancing, rocking and all that will become so enfeebled by the evil of age such that ” the world has you”

Summary and analysis of the poem

The poem stresses the point of what could probably happen to human in life as they cling to the early lineages, here we will realize that when a baby is at first given birth to he assumed it with youth I.e infant and from their going through teen and adolescent and all that but the poem makes us realise that “the panic” “of growing older” is a big evil in the face of all human race that “spreads fluttering wings” on humans “year to year”.


At twenty stilles by hope and aspirations” I.e the early time of life when one can do all sort of unusuals and things belief to be done by the teens and youth, let take it from here, some will go to dancing hall, club, eat, go to beach and enjoy life to any extent without any body effect or ache, at this same twenty era, one is full of expectation and always in anticipation “of gigantic success”.

At thirty, one is quite happy and healthy in such a way that if one were to be visited by pain nothing will show in the laboratory tests. It is about the thirty era that one has involved in marriage during which ” leg cribbed in domesticity “, and their is no time for doing all sort of do and done which as occur in the early 20’s to the end of it, this time one has to just comply with the responsibility he his required of, all era of playing around is loss to those new teens and youth maybe because of the enormous of raising family and things like that.

This process is followed by an era tagged with ” copybook” filled with “red ink and failures”, one even realizing “nothing to show the world.” An individual may have begotten three children that the poet said “it is expects of you” because it requires no specialist’s efforts there I.e giving birth to children is a very normal process of life and it doesn’t count any of your success.

See also  Language development, basic skill of language, features

Scientists gives hope that one could have a long life, they said one could have doubles life span, but “hope is not a grain of sand” I.e hope is not something one could rely on as it is not sand that is very much and unfinish on earth, anything might happen taking away the life of the predicted person, So the satisfaction may not be there since anticipation and potentials may have not been unlocked to the fullest.

At his spot “the world has you”, one will be totally weak like a person that have been defeated in boxing and couldn’t rise up due to the ache caused by the bruise all over him.

Themes in the poem


  • Evil associated with ageing
  • The twixt in mans fate 
  • Anxiety associated another year
  • Man comes to world to engaged a conquest
  • Mortality of every human being.
Figures of speech
  • Alliteration: line 9-12 ‘t’—- thirty, throb, test, to—— line 25-28: ‘s’ in science, score, and sand
  • Personification: giving attribute of human quality to non-human or inanimate phenomena. (I) ” laboratory test” are said to have nothing to show”, only human show things. (ii) “science is said to give hope”.
  • Imagery: this is an idea of picturing things in mind to get what the writer meant. E.g things like ” fluttering wings” image of big wing, “copybook  of life filled with failure mark”, here you will picture a book mark with red ink Biro but in failure, many image also like leg cribbed, moon, laboratory and others.
  • Metaphor: this is the act of using direct comparison I.e you associate one thing to another.
  1. “Panic” is associated to “fluttering wings”
  2. At the age of twenty is associated with “still hope and success”
  3. Blade of expectation” is associated with what one wants in life
  4. Copybook ” is associated with “red ink” which means failure
  5. Hope is not a grain of sand is a metaphor of depicting what hope is not
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