Penned by A K Ramanujan, the poem ‘Looking for a Cousin on a Swing‘ is about the poet and his cousin, and their immature sexual encounter with each other when they were a child, and how it remains the same even now when they are grown up considerably.
The poem is a lyric. It runs up to 21 lines and follows no rhyme scheme.
LOOKING FOR A COUSIN ON A SWING SUMMARY
‘Looking for a Cousin on a Swing’ reminisces the poet’s childhood and longing for going back when he becomes older.
When he was six or seven years, the poet frequently sat upon a village swing with his playmate, his cousin who was only four or five years old. When they were swinging fast, they touched each other at every swing. They experienced some physical pleasure or sexual arousal at every touch. The Lunge, the poet mentions here, is not apparently the the literal lunge, but the sexual arousal.
They also climbed a small tree full of leaves, a tree similar to a fig tree. The poet says that they were very innocent about what they were doing.
The mention of fig tree and leaves has some Biblical significance where Adam and Eve used to wear fig tree leaves when they were for the first time ashamed of their nakedness. So, here the poet symbolically means their transformation from innocence to maturity.
The poet’s cousin living somewhere in a city probably with her husband, now longing for the same swing she had in her childhood. Apparently it is a longing for the same physical touch she had with her cousin in her childhood. However nostalgic she is, the childhood innocence would never come back, since she has matured notably and this makes much difference in their relationship. So the same innocent physical (sexual) encounter is never to occur again.