Shadows by Gerson M. Mallilin (Poem) - Critique, Analysis, Meaning

They are like strangers on the ground,
These shadows shy;
Walk upon them, strike them,
They never cry.

And yet within me something says
They are the hosts,
And we but strangers in a place
Whose kings are ghosts.

Analysis, Meanings, Notes:

In this poem, the poet attempts to define and understand the world of shadows. He articulates what most of us think of our shadows. Mallilin describes shadows as strangers who are shy and who never complain despite being walked upon. Describing shadows as strangers is very appropriate. They are always with us wherever we go. But they are also always nameless, formless, and devoid of any emotions.

In the second stanza, the poet puts forth the kind of feelings stirred within him by shadows. He turns upside down what he talked about in the first stanza. Instead of the shadows being the strangers, the poet thinks that we are the strangers and that shadows are our hosts. The poet imagines a parallel universe where ghosts are kings, shadows are their subjects, and people are mere strangers.

For discussion:

1. Why did the poet describe shadows as shy?
2. Do you agree that shadows never cry?
3. Do you share the poet's feeling that shadows are the hosts and that we are the strangers?