Get summary, textual solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the poem/chapter “Song of the Flower” by Khalil Gibran which is a part of Class 10 English Literature Reader syllabus for students studying under Manipur Board (BSEM).
The speaker in the poem is a flower, personified as it describes its own existence and purpose in life. It begins by stating that it is “a kind word uttered and repeated by the voice of nature” (line 1). This establishes the flower as an embodiment of nature’s benevolence. It then metaphorically describes itself as “a star fallen from the blue tent [the sky] upon the green carpet [grass]” (line 3), further emphasizing its heavenly origins.
The flower explains it was conceived by the elements and cared for by the seasons, with Winter conceiving it, Spring birthing it, Summer raising it, and Autumn cradling it. It unites with the dawn breeze to announce daylight, and joins birdsong at dusk to bid farewell to the fading light. It serves to decorate the plains with vivid color and perfume the air with sweet scent.
As night embraces it in slumber, the darkness keeps watch. With sunrise, the flower awakens and gazes upon the sun, “the only eye of the day” (line 11). It imbibes morning dew as though drinking fine wine, listening to birdsong and swaying with the undulating grass.
The speaker reveals the flower signifies love – a traditional lover’s gift and wedding adornment. It also represents the bittersweet memory of a happy moment as well as the final tribute from the living to the deceased. Though associated with joy and sorrow alike, the flower ever looks upwards to the light and refuses to glance down at its own shadow. The poem concludes by suggesting humanity should learn wisdom from the perpetually optimistic outlook of the humble flower.
Line by line explanation
“I am a kind word uttered and repeated / By the voice of Nature;”
The flower describes itself as a gentle, reassuring presence in nature, akin to a kind word. This metaphor suggests that just as kind words have a soothing, positive effect on those who hear them, the presence of flowers has a similar effect on the environment.
“I am a star fallen from the blue tent / Upon the green carpet.”
The flower likens itself to a star that has descended from the sky (the blue tent) to the earth (the green carpet). This imagery creates a sense of the flower’s ethereal beauty and its connection between the heavens and the earth.
“I am the daughter of the elements / With winter conceived;”
The flower is personified as a daughter born from the natural elements, with its inception occurring in winter. This line emphasizes the natural process and the essential role of different elements and seasons in the life cycle of a flower.
“To whom Spring gave birth; / I was reared in the lap of Summer / And I slept in the bed of Autumn.”
The flower narrates its growth through the seasons: born in spring, nurtured in summer, and reaching a state of rest or dormancy in autumn. This progression highlights the flower’s dependence on and harmony with the seasonal cycle.
“At dawn I unite with the breeze / To announce the coming of light;”
The flower describes its role at dawn, joining with the morning breeze to signal the arrival of daylight. This portrays the flower as an active participant in the daily rhythms of nature.
“At eventide I join the birds / In bidding the light farewell.”
Similarly, at dusk, the flower collaborates with birds to mark the end of the day. This line continues the theme of the flower’s integration with natural cycles.
“The plains are decorated with my beautiful colours, / And the air is scented with my fragrance.”
The flower speaks of its visual and olfactory contributions to the environment, enhancing the beauty and aroma of the plains. This illustrates the aesthetic and sensory impact of flowers on their surroundings.
“As I embrace Slumber the eyes of night watch over me, / And as I awaken I stare at the sun, / Which is the only eye of the day.”
The flower describes its rest under the watchful eyes of the night and its awakening to gaze upon the sun, metaphorically the day’s eye. This personification creates an intimate connection between the flower and the natural phenomena of night and day.
“I drink dew for wine and hearken to the voices of the birds, / And dance to the rhythmic swaying of the grass.”
The flower depicts its interaction with its environment: drinking dew, listening to birds, and moving with the grass. These actions imbue the flower with lifelike qualities, further personifying it.
“I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath; / I am the memory of a moment of happiness. / I am the last gift of the living to the dead; / I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.”
The flower reflects on its role in human life, symbolizing love, celebration, memory, and mourning. This stanza highlights the deep emotional and symbolic connections between flowers and human experiences.
“But I look up high to see only the light, / And never look down to see my shadow. / This is wisdom which man must learn.”
In the concluding lines, the flower shares its philosophy: focusing on the positive (the light) and not the negative (the shadow). This metaphor serves as a lesson for humanity, suggesting an optimistic approach to life.
Textual/book questions and answers
A. On the basis of your understanding of the poem complete the following statements:
I. The flower at dawn announces:
Answer: The coming of light.
II. The plains become beautiful:
Answer: With the decoration of the flower’s beautiful colors.
III. The flower drinks:
Answer: Dew for wine.
IV. The last gift of the living to the dead:
Answer: The flower is the last gift of the living to the dead.
B. Answer each of the following questions in a sentence:
I. What becomes of the star when it falls from the blue tent of sky?
Answer: It becomes a flower on the green carpet (the earth).
II. Who conceived the flower?
Answer: The flower was conceived by the elements.
III. What does the flower do at eventide?
Answer: At eventide, the flower joins the birds in bidding the light farewell.
IV. What watches over the flower when she embraces Slumber?
Answer: The eyes of night watch over the flower when it embraces Slumber.
V. What does the flower do with the rhythmic swaying of the grass?
Answer: The flower dances to the rhythmic swaying of the grass.
VI. Why does the flower look up so high?
Answer: The flower looks up high to see only the light and never its shadow.
C. Answer the following questions briefly
I. The poet compares the flower with a kind word. Bring out the appropriateness of the comparison.
Answer: The poet compares the flower to a kind word uttered by nature. This comparison highlights how flowers, like kind words, spread joy, warmth and positivity. Just as kind words light up someone’s day, flowers too delight people with their beauty and fragrance.
II. “I am a star fallen from the blue tent upon the green carpet.” Explain why the flower says so.
Answer: Here the flower imagines itself to be a star that has fallen from the sky (blue tent) onto the grassy plain (green carpet). This metaphor compares the flower’s beauty and radiance to that of a shining star.
III. Why does the flower say that it is the daughter of the elements?
Answer: The flower says it is the daughter of the elements (air, water, fire and earth) because it believes that the elements combined together to create or conceive flowers.
IV. How is the flower ‘winter conceived’?
Answer: The line “winter conceived” suggests that the flower was formed inside the womb of winter. The dormant period of winter sets the stage for the growth of flowers in spring. So winter is imagined as the parent who conceived the flower.
V. What does the flower do at dawn?
Answer: At dawn, the flower unites with the breeze to announce the arrival of morning light. It welcomes the new day.
VI. “I drink dew for wine, and harken to the voices of the birds.” Explain.
Answer: Here, the flower says it drinks dew drops as if they were wine. Dew drops on petals look like wine beads. And the flower enjoys listening to birdsongs, comparing it to delightful music.
VII. “I am the memory of a moment of happiness.” Explain.
Answer: The poet says flowers are often used to celebrate happy occasions and remind one of joyful moments. Lovers exchange flowers as gifts and they are used in wedding celebrations. So they become symbols of happiness and the memory of blissful moments.
VIII. What should man learn from the flower?
Answer: The flower always looks upwards towards the light and never down at its shadow. This exemplifies an optimistic perspective, focusing on positivity rather than darkness. The poet says this wisdom of always looking at the bright side is what man should learn from flowers.
A. A metaphor is a comparison in which the likeness between two different things are highlighted. For example look at the line: I am a kind word … Here the poet is making a comparison between the flower and a kind word:
Flower and kind word: Flower is beautiful and gives joy/So do kind words
Now bring out points of similarities in the following metaphors:
|Points of Similarities
|I am a star fallen from the blue tent
|The metaphor compares the flower to a fallen star, suggesting that the flower, like a star, captivates and stands out in its environment due to its beauty and uniqueness.
|The only eye of the day
|This metaphor likens the flower to the sun, the essential source of light during the day, implying the flower’s vital role and influence in its environment, similar to the sun’s importance.
|I drink dew for wine
|The flower’s absorption of dew is compared to a person savoring wine, highlighting the natural process of the flower absorbing dew as a source of nourishment and joy.
|I am the memory of a moment of happiness
|The flower is metaphorically compared to a cherished, joyful memory, suggesting that the flower evokes feelings of happiness and pleasantness, similar to recalling a happy memory.
B. (i) In the poem, who is the speaker? Of course, it is the flower. The poet is imagining the flower to be a person who can speak. Such an imaginative poetic device is called ‘personification’. Write a few lines on how the technique impresses on you. Does the technique create a feeling of close intimacy between you, the reader and the flower? Write a few lines expressing your feelings.
Answer: The personification of the flower in the poem serves as an effective literary device that brings the flower to life, making it more relatable and emotive. By giving the flower human characteristics, the poet creates a bridge between the reader and the natural world, fostering a sense of intimacy and empathy. This technique makes the flower appear more than just a botanical entity; it becomes a living, feeling being with which the reader can connect on an emotional level. It evokes feelings of wonder and admiration, as the flower, through personification, communicates its experiences and emotions, allowing the reader to see the world from its perspective.
(ii) There are some other instances of personification. Write them.
Answer: The poem contains several instances of personification apart from the primary one where the flower is given human attributes. These include:
- “I am a star fallen from the blue tent”: Here, the flower is personified as a star, implying that it has the ability to shine and stand out, much like a celestial body.
- “The only eye of the day”: In this personification, the flower is described as an eye, suggesting its ability to observe and be a central focus, similar to the role of the sun.
- “I drink dew for wine”: This is another instance where the flower is given human-like qualities, portraying it as enjoying the dew as a human might savor wine, emphasizing its capacity for pleasure and sustenance.
- “I am the memory of a moment of happiness”: The flower is personified as a memory, indicating its ability to evoke emotions and recollections in a way akin to human memories.
Think and Write
The writer has given a number of uses of flowers for example – the lover’s gift. Now list them one after another. And also write a few more uses of flowers other than those mentioned in the poem practised in your community.
Answer: In the poem, the flower is depicted as having various uses and significance in human life. The identified uses in the poem include:
- The Lover’s Gift: Flowers are often used as a symbol of love and affection, given as a gift between lovers.
· Additionally, in various communities, flowers have several other uses, such as:
- Decorative Purposes: Flowers are widely used for decoration in homes, offices, events like weddings, and in public spaces for their beauty and fragrance.
- Religious Ceremonies: In many cultures, flowers are used in religious rituals and ceremonies as offerings to deities or as part of sacred decorations.
- Symbol of Respect and Remembrance: Flowers are used in funerals and memorial services as a mark of respect and remembrance for the deceased.
- Medicinal Uses: Certain flowers have medicinal properties and are used in traditional remedies and herbal medicines.
- Cultural Festivals: Flowers play a significant role in many cultural festivals, where they are used in traditional rites, as symbols of specific values or histories, and in festival decorations.
- Symbolic Meanings: Different flowers often hold specific symbolic meanings and are used to convey messages, such as red roses for love, white lilies for purity, or chrysanthemums for loyalty.
Role of Nature in Human life.
Answer: The role of nature in human life is profound and multifaceted, serving as a source of sustenance, inspiration, and solace. Nature, as depicted through the lens of the flower in the poem, provides a vivid illustration of this intricate relationship.
- Source of Physical Sustenance: Nature is fundamental to human existence, providing essential resources like food, water, and air. It is the primary source of the materials needed for survival and well-being.
- Emotional and Spiritual Connection: Nature offers an emotional and spiritual refuge, a place for contemplation, rejuvenation, and inspiration. The beauty and tranquility of natural settings have a calming effect and help in reducing stress and promoting mental health.
- Symbolic and Cultural Significance: Nature holds significant symbolic and cultural value in human societies. Various natural elements and phenomena have been imbued with meanings and used in cultural rituals, art, literature, and religious practices.
- Educational Value: Nature serves as a vast classroom, offering endless opportunities for learning and discovery. From understanding ecosystems and biodiversity to learning about conservation and sustainability, nature is a rich source of knowledge.
- Health and Well-being: Interaction with nature has been shown to have numerous health benefits. It enhances physical health by encouraging outdoor activities and exercise, and improves mental health by reducing stress and anxiety.
- Artistic Inspiration: Nature has been a perennial source of inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians. The diversity, beauty, and mystery of the natural world have fueled creativity and artistic expression throughout human history.
- Environmental Awareness and Responsibility: Nature reminds humans of their responsibility to protect and preserve the environment. The interconnectedness of life and the impact of human actions on nature highlight the need for sustainable practices and environmental stewardship.
Extra/additional questions and answers/solutions
1. Explain the metaphor “I am a kind word uttered and repeated by the voice of nature.”
Answer: This metaphor likens the flower to a kind word spoken by nature, suggesting that the flower is a gentle, positive expression of the natural world. It implies that the flower, much like a kind word, brings joy and beauty to those who encounter it. The repetition of the ‘kind word’ by nature’s voice emphasizes the consistent and enduring presence of this beauty in the natural world.
20. How does the poem’s structure contribute to its overall message and impact?
Answer: The poem’s structure, with its rhythmic and flowing lines, mirrors the natural elegance and rhythm of a flower’s life. The structure helps convey the seamless cycle of life and the interconnectedness of all its phases, enhancing the poem’s message and emotional impact.
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