The poem, “Vanity” is concerned with a hint to the wisdom of the ancient There is a general note of warning in the poem that if we fail to heed the voice of the ancestors, we have lost our hope of protection, of Psychological defense against the’ changing fortunes of life. Generally, the poet uses the traditional belief in the spirit of the ancestors as a means of reflecting upon the continuity of human experience and suffering. Only our dead have known the whole of life, and without their communion, we are pitifully alone: “Since we have never listened to their cries if we weep, gently…… whatever to our sobbing hearts?”
The Poem casts a picture of gloom as it seems that the sad Complaints of beggars the torments, the cries of the dead and “their wild appeals are not listened to… “just as our ears were deaf” so, “they have left on the earth their cries”. Thus, the cries from our “largemouths” shaped by laughter cannot be heard and we seem to be in a helpless condition to redress the wrongs of the past. We have found ourselves in this present quagmire because we “see nothing of what they (ancestors) have made, justifying our being called “unworthy sons.”
In the final analysis, our ancestors have chosen to speak in “clumsy voices” such that we can no longer understand:
As a result of negligence our cries will not be heard:
“And since we did not understand our dead,
Since we have never listened to their cries,
If we weep gently, gently,
If we cry roughly of our torments,
What heart will listen?
That means, we weep or cry in vain, hence the title, vanity.