Where the mind is without fear -Explanation

Where the Mind is without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Introduction …. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the author of this poem, lived during a time when India was in chains, Europe was in the throes of another world war after recovering from the ruins of the First World War, and the totalitarian ideology of Communism was sweeping across Europe and Asia. India, too, was striving to break free of the colonial yoke. Momentous changes, upheavals, revolutions and mayhem of the most horrendous proportions were ripping the world apart. Nations were divided, neighbours fought with one another with savage brutality, and oppression of dissent was considered a fair practice of statecraft.
Tagore had a very restless mind. He was pained to see the excesses of nationalism, the cruel subjugation of people by masters from distant lands, and the un-ending miseries at home. He pined for freedom, liberation of the mind, and the banishment of fear. The philosopher in him rebelled to breathe free, walk free and think free. This short poem was penned by the poet extraordinaire to give vent to the torment of his soul seething with unease.

MeaningThe poet beseeches God to take his motherland to the ‘heaven of freedom’, where the mind is not fettered, culture is not constrained by moth-balled ideologies, pursuit of knowledge is not constrained, where people think themselves as members of the entire humankind, and there is no one to persecute a citizen for the flimsiest of reasons. With no fear of state-sponsored coercion, no narrow nationalism, and complete freedom of expression, the creative instincts of the human mind can blossom to its full capacity. In such environment, striving of perfection in every field of human endeavour becomes a universal passion.
The poet thinks of such utopian world, and wants God to lead India forward to this ‘perfect’ world.
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Rachel Field Poem – If Once You have Slept on an Island

If Once You Have Slept on an Island

In this poem, the poet, Rachel Layman Field, describes how a stay in an island affects the inhabitant.
In course of living in the island, the appearance changes little and the name remains the same. In the island, the person can go about his daily life sauntering in the street, doing shopping or relaxing at home spending time in sewing or in similar hobbies.
The inhabitant can’t keep his eyes off the vast blue mass of water in the sea. The sight of the hovering sea gulls is too enchanting to ignore. The passing ships whistle, and the light house bells ring. The tides’ roar buzz the ears even during sleep. As the inhabitant chats with his neighbor, or sits idly near the fire place, the sight and sound of the sea linger in his mind. In course of time these get etched in his mind.
As a result, one becomes a different person without discerning the slow changes that have come about in him. The island casts a spell over the inhabitant which he can’t shake off.
Note .. It is obvious that a day’s stay in the island can’t bring about such drastic changes in an inhabitant there. Such assertion is a hyperbole. What the poet has in mind is the bewitching beauty, and the serenity of the island that profoundly influences the mind of a visitor to the place.  , The leisurely pace of life and the sight of the blue waters of the sea influence the mind of a person so greatly that he tends to forget his earlier life. The new consciousness imbues his inner self without he realizing that he had a distinct past.
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The Solitary Reaper — by William Wordsworth

The Solitary Reaper
By William Wordsworth

 

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
Meaning … The setting is some farming field in Scotland which is ripe for harvest. A lonely maiden is busy reaping the crop. She enjoys her work. Neither the hard work, nor the solitude of the surroundings make a dent on her carefree mind. She sings a melodious song that rings with a certain degree of pensiveness. The sweet sound of her song reverberates around the vast valley. The author, an avid lover of Nature, happens to pass by the fields. He is at once swayed by the melody, exuberance, and pathos of the maid’s voice. He is so enchanted with her song that he wants to just stand still. He does not want to distract her in any way that could result in her stopping to sing. Even, he advises any other passer-by to stop there, or walk unobtrusively so as to let the lass continue her singing with zest and passion.

 

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Meaning … The author heaps praise on the singing damsel profusely. He feels her voice was better than the legendary singing bird Nightangle. He feels her voice would have soothed the frayed nerves of Arabian cross-country tired of their arduous trek. Drawing another comparison, the author says the Cuckoo’s Spring-time singing would fail to match the sweet mesmeric charm of the young woman’s voice. So profound was the spell of her sweet voice that the author feels the sound must be reaching the far-flung shores of the Hebrides – a group of remote islands lying off Scotland. Even the roar of the sea’s water can not dampen her voice.

 

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Meaning ….. The words of the maid’s song melt away in the air. The author is unable to decipher each of the words, but. The voice is unmistakably mournful. The author imagines that the girl is lost in some past sorrows lying deep in her heart. Scotland, in those days was ravaged by frequent wars and bloodshed. The girl is, perhaps, reminiscing about some unhappy memories of those savage battles that have scarred her mind. The author is clueless as to what makes the song so doleful. It could be that the singer is wary of some unhappy thing that could happen soon, or has occurred recently.

 

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Meaning … The maiden’s soulful song, no matter its not-so-clear content, leaves the author spell-bound. It is a musical feast to his ears that remains etched in his mind. As he continues to climb the mountain, he keeps his ears tuned to the song, enjoying its every bit. It is unique how the maiden, engrossed in her mundane work in the field, sings such soul-stirring melody. For all times to come, the author will remember this unforgettable experience in so ordinary a place – thanks to the village farm girl.
[Questions and answers will be posted soon.]
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ICSE English poem — Small Pain in My Chest

Small Pain in my Chest
By Michael Mack

Introduction .. Death follows a soldier at every step of the way in the battlefield. Yet, a valiant soldier lumbers on, braving the enemy bullets and the injuries to his body. Death often comes slowly inflicting excruciating pain on the wounded solitary soldier. As the Sun sets in his life, he finds no one to bring him succor or solace. Finally, he breathes his last.
But, the gutsy soldier dies for a cause – the call to defend his country. Some unflinching steadfast soldiers, the refusal of their limbs to continue fighting brings lament and remorse. In the present case, what hurt the dying soldier more is the fear his mother and wife could assume that he capitulated before the enemy before shedding the last drop of blood.
It is a hugely inspirational song that sings the praise of a fatally wounded soldier bemoaning not his death, but his inability to carry on fighting. He dies defying death. For generation to come, his story of valour and dedication will imbibe the never-say-die spirit in countless soldiers.
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Explanation …
Stanza 1 … “The soldier boy was ……… by morning’s light”.
The battle ground was the scene of intense fighting the day before. Dead bodies of fallen soldiers lay strewn all over the place. Drained of all his energy, a solitary soldier had slumped on the ground under a tree. The morning Sun had begun to shine.He had been grievously wounded. He saw another soldier nearby, and motioned him to come nearer.
Stanza 2.. “I wonder if you would help …… pain in my chest.”
Barely managing to smile, the soldier told the other person that he was very thirsty, and begged him to give him some water. He stated how grueling the fighting had been the night before. The non-stop fight had sapped his energy and had left a “small pain in his chest.” It was an understatement. The soldier had been grievously wounded in his chest, but he chose to play it down.
Stanza 3 … “As I looked at him …………….. pain in my chest”.
The second soldier (the author as narrator) looked at his comrade and discovered that his shirt was blood-stained and his uniform was soiled. All this pointed to the fact that the soldier had endured a savage fight. Quite stoically, the wounded soldier made light of his own injury, and declared that he has so luckily survived with a ‘small pain in the chest’, where as all his fellow soldiers had fallen dead. It was a remarkable show of defiance and grit. With astounding courage, he could conceal the excruciating pain to put up a brave face.
Stanza 4 … “Must be fatigue, ………… small pain in my chest”.
The young soldier was fast losing his vitality, but his mind was not ready to give up. He narrated how his 2–strong contingent had managed to climb atop a rock in the previous night. As they began to descend, the enemy rained bullets on them killing almost all of them instantly. It had been a very bloody encounter. Then the soldier looked within. He felt cold although the Sun shone brightly. His limbs had become numb and insipid. A creeping feeling of doom had overtaken his mind. He felt he was nearing his dotage. But, his spirit was as hardly scarred. He wanted to believe that it was the fatigue of the hard-fought battle that made him feel low then. Smiling wryly, he reiterated that his injury was minor.
Stanza 5 .. “I looked around to go ………. small pain in my chest.”
The young soldier shared some more details of the encounter. He stated how, in the aftermath of the encounter, he had looked around to get some help for his comrades. But it was all in vain. All that he saw was deep bomb crater and the corpses of his fellow soldiers. Undaunted by the catastrophe, he continued to fire at the enemy until the ‘small pain in his chest’ made him to sit down on the ground.
Stanza 6 … “I am grateful ………………………. pain in the chest”.
The second soldier (the author as narrator) handed over the water to the young soldier. The latter drank it, and smiled happily and very gratefully. His face reflected the deep joy within. Then he bemoaned the fact that a strong and stout soldier like him could be down on his knees amidst the fury of the battleground. He lamented the fact that a ‘small pain in the chest’ had done him in. It was show of Herculean courage to describe a fatal bullet wound as a ‘small pain in the chest.’
Stanza 7 … “What would my wife ………………. pain in my chest”.
Then the young soldier began to introspect how his near and dear ones would judge his reluctance to fight. His wife could assume that her large-framed husband was an indeed timid soul within. His mother, who reared him to manhood, would be ashamed to see her son capitulating to the enemy just because of a ‘small pain in the chest.” The young soldier obviously knew the regard and reverence with which his family and society looked at him. He was ashamed that their trust had been belied.
Stanza 8 … “Can it be getting dark so soon …………….. small pain in the chest”.
The young soldier saw darkness descending all around. He looked at the Sun and couldn’t figure out how dusk could fall so soon. Oblivious of the impending death, the young unflinching soldier had hoped to resume fighting after a brief rest. But, it was a vain day dream. He departed within moments.
Stanza 9 .. “I don’t recall …………………….. small one in his chest.”
For the second soldier (the author as narrator), it was a deeply moving experience to see a young soldier signing off from life with all guns blazing. He had defied death, lived the life of a real hero, and left a trail of inspiration and glory. Overwhelmed with emotions, the narrator put his arms around him, and pressed him to his bosom. The real wound in the heart of the deceased soldier had carved far bigger wound in the narrator’s heart. Sadness laced with pride, anguish mixed with admiration, and empathy lined with reverence gripped his ‘wounded’ heart.
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Questions .. a. How did the young soldier get wounded?

The young soldier was part of a 200-strong contingent that was climbing a rock in course of a battle somewhere in Asia. During the descent, they ran into unexpected and heavy bombardment by the enemy. The fight continued overnight. Suddenly, a huge explosion happened that caused all of his fellow soldiers to die instantly. He survived, but with a grievous wound in his chest.

b. What did he do soon after the explosion?

Like a well-trained disciplined soldier, he tried to come to the aid of his fellow soldiers, but could do little as all of them had died. There was a huge bomb crater. Undaunted by the savage attack, he continued to fire at the enemy until he became too weak to continue. He sat down under a tree.

c. Why was he so full of remorse?

He felt sad as he could not continue to fight. He thought about his wife and mother back home, and felt that they would take a dim view of his virtual ‘capitulation’. The soldier in him told him to press on, but he was too drained to do it. This made him remorseful.

d. What qualities of the soldier make him stand apart?

The soldier was stoic, courageous and very committed to his duty. He was defiant in the face of death and wanted to press on despite the excruciating pain he suffered due to the big wound in his chest. He ignored the suffering calling it ‘a small pain in my chest’. Such determination to fight even when death knocked on his door made him a truly astounding soldier.

e. How did the author-narrator feel when the soldier died?

The author-narrator was shattered to see the young wounded soldier dieing before him. His heart was filled with grief, admiration and love for the young fighter who died defying death. He fell in the battlefield like a true hero. He departed from this world with all guns blazing.

Symbolism in the poem …

1. The title ‘Small Pain in the Chest’ is a brilliant example of symbolism. The author has sung the praise of the young valiant soldier who, despite his fatal wound in the chest, defies death, and rues his inability to continue fighting. The author has succeeded in underlining his message quite effectively by describing the lament of the dying soldier not in groans and curses, but in words conveying stoicism, pride, and defiance.

2. “Can it be getting dark so soon?” He winced up at the sun.
“It’s growing dim and I thought that the day had just begun.
These lines are another example of the author resorting to ‘symbolism’. The wounded soldier stands on the throes of death. This why everything looks darker to him, although the Sun still shines bright. Yet, valour is still palpable in the soldier’s who would breathe his last soon. The lines juxtapose the gloom of the soldier’s life with his never-say-die spirit.

3. ‘And, as I held him to me, I could feel our wounds were pressed
The large one in my heart against the small one in his chest.’
Again, this is an exquisite example of ‘symbolism’. The second soldier was not physically wounded at all. But, the just-dead warrior’s last regretful words have flummoxed him. He is as moved as he is sad by the dead soldier’s words.

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Main events of ‘Small’ Pain in My Chest

  1. The raging battle took a heavy toll of life, and the young soldier got wounded, along with scores of others.
  2. The brave soldier narrated to his comrade how the ‘small’ pain in his chest had left him down on his knees. It was a rare show of defiance in the face of heavy odds.
  3. The wounded soldier bemoaned his fate not because he was grievously wounded, but because he could fight no longer. He remembered his wife and mother, and felt ashamed to think that they would react with disgust to learn about his abject capitulation.
  4. His limbs became insipid as death loomed over him. The day appeared dark, and the Sun appeared to be setting. His end had come.
  5. The two comrades embraced one another and the young one breathed his last with remorse that a ‘small’ pain in his chest had did him in. He wrote a new saga in gallantry and patriotism.

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I Believe — Explanation and Questions and Answers

I Believe
By Brucellis K Sangma
I believe if a pebble is thrown upwards
I can pierce the heavens
And see the angels at play.

 

The poem celebrates the undying spirit, optimism and the countless possibilities of the human beings’ abilities. But, for the miracles of their dreams to happen, they must have the grit, resoluteness, and the will power. Through fantasy the poet cites the throwing of a pebble skywards, and piercing the Heavens to underscore the fact that a human being needs to summon all his physical and mental strengths to accomplish the impossible. While reading the lines, the symbolism of the poet’s words come out loud and clear.
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I believe I can soar to the heights
Touch the silky clouds
And feel the stars.

 

Again the poet exudes superhuman audacity by stating that she could ‘touch the clouds and caper amidst the stars by her effort – but, only if she is determined. Super-human goals demand super-human endeavours. There is no short-cut here.
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I believe I can dive
Right into the depths
And swim with the sharks.

 

Again, the poet reiterates that she can do near-impossible feats, like diving into the depths of seas and frolic among the sharks if she wanted. Obviously, the poet is awash with confidence and courage. She reckons that feats that appear only in fantasy can be accomplished by a determined individual.
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I believe I can claw into the earth’s belly
Pick up the priceless gems
And adorn myself with them.

 

The author further illustrates her daring nature by stating that she can dig deep into the earth, mine her precious stones and decorate herself with them. It is a metaphoric exposing of her ingrained courage to explore the unknown, and enrich her mind with the knowledge gained through such expedition.
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I believe I can do many things
Amidst the human angels
Surrounded by the world’s treasures.

 

The author underlines her resolve to do some great acts of sacrifice and dedication for the good of the humanity. She feels she can utilize the world’s wealth for the betterment of mankind.
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But I firmly believe I’ve to complete
The role assigned to me here
Where I dream and breathe.

 

In the last lines, the author is far more circumspect. She knows letting the dreams soar high is busy, but accomplishing the objectives may prove to too daunting a task. So, she wants to be a pragmatist and a realist. She feels the duty before her, whether small or big, must be done with utmost sincerity and honesty. Wavering from the reality and flying among the clouds is futile, she cautions. The tasks in hand must get precedence over the mind’s limitless ambitions. Dreaming is easy, doing not.
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Questions and answers ..
a. What is the central message of the poem?
The author sings the praise of ‘the audacity of hope’ in this poem. She lifts the readers’ spirit by narrating the many daunting tasks one can undertake to make one’s life purposeful. Thus, the message is one of ambition, altruism and dedication. However, she cautions against the perils of dreaming and neglecting the tasks in hand. Hope must not be opium that makes a man sedate and indolent.

 

b. Can you guess the type of person the author is?
She is a brave, service-minded and benign person. At the same time, she is a hard realist, not a day-dreamer.

 

c. Why the author states such impossible tasks like ‘clawing into the heart of earth’ and ‘diving into the deep sea to swim with the sharks’?
These are nothing but very poetic metaphors to illustrate the daring nature of the author. While declaring her ambitions, she beckons others to follow in her footsteps and be audacious. Her call is for dedication to duty in true fearless and daring way.
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Mirror by Sylvia Plath — Personification

Mirror by Sylvia Plath …

The poem starts with the bold declaration,
“I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.”
Quite unmistakably, Sylvia Plath perceives the Mirror to be a person with profound wisdom, discerning ability, sympathy, and an astute sense of observation. Like a renowned judge it remains neutral refusing to be swayed by the emotions or feelings of those who come near it. With astounding nonchalance, it reflects (‘swallows’) anything and everything paying no heed to the reaction of the objects – animate or inanimate. A woman slowly decaying with each passing day arouses her interest. The woman despairs at her receding charm, but the Mirror remains unmoved.
We can thus conclude that the author has succeeded to a large measure in her effort to give the Mirror a heart, mind and a soul.

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Moral of the poem The Frog and the Nightangale

The moral of the poem The Frog and the Nightingale

Lesson 1…Naivety is a negative trait. It tempts the crooks to manipulate and exploit a naive individual, often leading to very fraught consequences for the latter. In this poem, the gifted nightingale needlessly genuflected before the devious frog. The bird with a golden voice fell prey to the frog’s wicked praises and admonishments. The nightingale should have discerned this earlier and just flown away. The nightingale could not see through the machinations of the greedy and hideous frog and continued to be prodded by its mentor to improve her singing. The foolishness brought fatal consequences for the naïve and unassuming nightingale.
Lesson 2 .. It flows from the earlier lesson. One must be quite careful in choosing a mentor, guru, or a coach. The mentor could be a renowned expert in the field, but there could always be a devil inside him. The disciple has to be vigilant to discover this early and move away. In this case, the Frog was not even a singer. He excelled in deceit and trickery. The nightingale had obviously, run into possibly the most hideous mentor. The servile bird paid the price with its life.
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ICSE English poem — A Psalm of Life

A Psalm of Life

by H. W. Longfellow

Introduction .. This is a poem that radiates hope, optimism, inspiration and a call to action. In the same vein, it seeks to dispel the sense of resignation, despair, indolence, and pessimism.

First stanzaTell me not ……………… not where they seem.
Meaning .. It is a call to shake off desultory thoughts that push some human beings to despair and inaction. The author calls upon those under the spell of such morbid perception of life to see the brighter side of life and not let their souls rot in indolence. In a lugubrious tone, the author urges these disaffected people never to see life as a barren landscape where not a blade of grass grows. Human soul’s power of creativity, and its ability to drive a person to loftier heights of existence is lost on these people. They see nothing substantive in things around them.
2nd stanza Life is real! ……………………..spoken of the soul.
Meaning … The author implores the purposeless, ‘defeated’ people to rediscover life, and not treat it as fecund just because it ends in grave. Human soul defies destruction. It has limitless abilities. Ignoring the creative potential of soul will be foolish and futile. So, the author argues, defeatist thinking should cede ground to vibrant and exuberant living.
Stanza 3 .. Not enjoyment, not for sorrow ………………. Find us farther than today
Meaning ….. Life’s journey on earth must not be gauged by the misery and mirth one endures. The travails and triumphs can not dictate the course of life. Instead, the endeavour must be to reach higher and higher levels of achievement in one’s field of activity. The progress might be incremental, but it must be relentless. Pursuit of perfection should be the motto of life despite the sacrifices it demands from an individual.

Stanza 4 Art is long and Time is fleeting ……………. Marches to the grave
Meaning … The journey from cradle to grave is unstoppable. The scope to accomplish something bigger, better and nobler is enormous. However, time marches on. There is no scope for a pause for the perfectionist. With each moment passing, one inexorably inches towards one’s grave. The heart has to stop beating to mark a mortal’s departure from this world. So, the author implores his fellow human beings to strive unceasingly to loftier heights, and not be distracted by the joys and sorrows that must accompany a person all the way during his existence on earth.

 

In the world’s broad field of battle,

   In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

   Be a hero in the strife!

Life presents myriad challenges, daunting tasks, and formidable hurdles. Confronting them requires Herculean willpower and a valiant never-do-die spirit. One has to summon all these traits to live through one’s life triumphantly, with dignity, and emerge with honnour. Giving up easily is escapism that brings humiliation, misery and ridicule. The author calls upon his readers not to give up, and accept defeat meekly. Capitulation to challenges is akin to the fear of fight seen in cattle.

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Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

   Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,–act in the living Present!

   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Never put your trust on soothsayers, astrologers, and people making prophesies. To curry favour, they  might mislead you with rosy forecasts about your future that may or may not materialize. On the other hand, brooding over past failures, defeats, and indignities heaped by enemies yield no benefit other than weakening your resolve to get back to your feet and confront your tormentors, restore your livelihood, and re-build your life. Live in the present. Let the sad past overshadow your vision, nor the rosy forecast of astrologers and advisors numb you to inactivity. Take stock of your present, plan your strategy, garner your resources and begin to resurrect your life. That is the wise way.

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Lives of great men all remind us

   We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

   Footprints on the sands of time;

When we read and reflect on the biographies of all great men and women, it becomes apparent that nearly all of them struggled their way to the zenith of their careers. Their lives were riddled with setbacks and their minds could never rest until they accomplished their goals. Some of them perished while in the midst of their lives’ battles. But, through their demise, they rose to conquer the heats of millions – like true heroes.

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Footprints, that perhaps another,

   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

The single-minded pursuit of a passion or a dream of these immortal men and women could or could not have brought them success in their life time, but their energy, dedication and indomitable spirit definitely inspires all those who dare to brave the pitfalls and hurdles in the quest of their goals. Thus, a hero’s sacrifice prods others to strive to achieve lofty goals in life.

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Let us, then, be up and doing,

   With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing

   Learn to labor and to wait.

At the end, the author calls upon his readers to rise, take on the challenges, and confront the demands of life with great zest, verve and valour. One must lumber on defying the odds of life. Failings are inevitable, but through perseverance and rectitude, one must learn to wage a battle against frustration and fatal weakness of mind.

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A Photograph by Shirley Toulson .. Explanation

A Photograph by Shirley Toulson

This is a poem of remembrance with a rather sad tone. It brings into focus the unstoppable changes ‘time’ forces on the lives of humans and objects.
An old un-framed family photograph mounted on an ordinary cardboard has turned brownish and somewhat frayed with the passage of years. The photograph stands defiantly as a mute witness to the happy childhood days of the poet’s mother. It shows her mother, a 12-year-old girl, frolicking in the sea beach with two of her younger cousins, Betty and Dolly, at her sides. The wind blows her hair onto her face. Their happiness shows in their faces. They smile as they peer into the camera held by their uncle.
The poet, Shirley, was not born then. So, the photograph must be decades old. Her mother had a sweet face. The three girls stood in the water as it swept their little feet. No doubt, they enjoyed their time in the edge of the sea.
The poet’s mother has long departed from earth after living her full life, but the sea has hardly changed in the years gone by. This contrast is so striking.
The photograph takes Shirley down the memory lane. She recollects how her mother, now no more, used to stare at the photograph musing on her face that looked so innocent and sweet those days. Some twenty to thirty years must have elapsed in the mean time. She would chuckle at the way her cousins came dressed to the beach. It was childhood innocence at its purest. But, time has no regard for such mundane matters. It rolls on inexorably destroying, building and devouring the living and the non-living objects on earth.
The mother drew pleasure from her past childhood days. Shirley remembers how her mother laughed reminiscing about her visits to the sea shore. Both the happy moments have receded to the oblivion, never to return. The sense of loss is painful. Shirley feels the loss as acutely as her mother did. The photograph that rekindled the memories will, over the years, succumb to the ravaging power of time. It will also vanish from the face of earth. Every living being will perish; every inanimate object will head to the scrap yard, and every fun-filled activity will fall silent. This is the rule of Nature.
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We are Seven by William Wordsworth

We Are Seven
by William Wordsworth
Introduction .. The naivety and un-worldliness of young children come to the fore in William Wordsworth’s poem ‘We are Seven’. Unlike the adults, the pain and anguish that follow death leaves the little tender ones un-ruffled. This godly trait of aloofness helps to insulate the young minds from the trauma and suffering that shatter a grown-up person.
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First stanza
———A simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
Explanation .. A child breathes feebly as life with its full fury and verve is yet to enter his body. Nonetheless, her limbs are always agile trying to move, do, touch and feel everything around. She is oblivious of the perils and awe of death.
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Second stanza ..
I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.
Explanation … On one occasion, the Speaker bumped into a little girl. She was eight. She had a beautiful hair-do. The luxurious hair was curled and arranged nicely to form a ring around her death.
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Third stanza ..
She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
—Her beauty made me glad.
Explanation … She looked like an un-sophisticated rural girl with little vanity or artificial grace. Her simple garb exuded her carefree attitude. Her eyes were bright and beautiful. She had a charming sweet face.
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