I can't understand the italicized part of the following poem, My Mother at Sixty-six by Kamala Das:

Driving from my parent’s
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realised with
that she thought away, and
looked but soon
put that thought away, and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes,

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Peter Shor , Sven Yargs, Dan Bron, tchrist Nov 3 '14 at 12:03

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    You're not supposed to understand it. It's a typo. One line has been left out and another has been duplicated. – Peter Shor Nov 3 '14 at 0:49
  • 4
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a typo – FumbleFingers Nov 3 '14 at 1:15

As Peter Shor notes, the highlighted words are part of a garbled line. According to Answers.com, the correct words after "realised with pain" are not "that she thought away, and looked" but "that she was as old as she looked."

The error seems to have gained considerable reach by having occurred in a book that offers "chapterwise syllabus coverage in question and answer form" of different aspects of English reading and writing as preparation for various standardized tests. (See Practice Question number 2 in chapter 7 for the mangled lines of poetry.)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.