1.APPRECIATION OF THE POEM ‘IF’ BY RUDYARD KIPLING
ABOUT THE POET AND THE THEME:- Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ is a didactic poem on the virtues of model leadership and typical manhood. The poem celebrates stoicism, fortitude and righteousness as the hallmark of manliness. Through a series of paradoxes, Kipling advises his son John how to lead a successful life.
BRIEF SUMMARY:- The poem exhorts the reader to be patient, honest, truthful, dependable and humble. He may have to face criticism, opposition, lies, and hatred. When others blame him, he should not lose his confidence. He must remain confident and believe in himself; yet he must do his best to take allowance of their doubting. In all things he must keep his character, morals and values, yet he must not look too good or wise.
This poem inspires one to dream, but advises not to make dreams one’s master. He should think but should not make thoughts his aim. He should view success and failure equally. He should be optimistic too when he sees the results of his hard work destroyed. He should build them up with confidence.
In the final stanza, the poet instructs him to keep talking with the crowds. At the same time he should maintain his virtue. The poet advises him to walk with the Kings without losing the common touch. All men should be able to count on his help. He should forgive people without any delay. If he can do all these things, the Earth and everything in it will be his own.
POETIC DEVICES:- The poem is in good rhyme scheme. It has good sound effects and fine imagery. The tone of the poem centres on human qualities. The mood is one of joy and optimism. There are no overly affectionate words, yet the message of the poet comes from the emotional tie to a child’s welfare. The speaker wants his child to do well in life. By using the second person point of view, the reader feels that the poet is speaking directly to him. The language used is so simple that readers can easily understand. There are lot of symbols and figures of speech especially personification. Dreams assume human role to control our lives. Success is personified as triumph. Failure is personified as disaster. Will is personified as a person who encourages us to succeed. We can also see the use of ‘metaphor’ used by the poet to make the poem more beautiful. ‘Unforgiving minute’ refers to time that waits for no man. ‘Worn out tools’ represent the feeling of’ total tiredness’ and to make use of our old values. Symbols also make the poem more attractive. ‘Knaves’ represent scoundrels, liars or common people. ‘Kings’ represent for important people. The poem also makes use of the conditional clause “if” to talk about conditional fulfillment.
CONCLUSION:-Kipling’s thoughts on action echo Lord Krishna’s description of a man in The Bhagavad Gita. In fact, many of the ideas expressed in the poem directly reflect Lord Krishna’s message of Nishkama Karma to Arjuna:
“Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani”
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani”
The message conveyed in the poem is very important. It helps one to lead a successful life. The poet as a father prepares his son to achieve his dreams. It is just like the mother bird who pushes her baby for his first slight. She has prepared him for the first flight by modeling, coaxing and instructing.
2. APPRECIATION OF THE POEM ‘DEATH THE LEVELLER’
“Death the Leveller” is a brilliant poem by James Shirely. This poem reminds us that death is a force that haunts all human beings. It makes the readers think about their short-life on earth. Death levels everyone in this world. He treats all alike. Death is always hanging over us. The theme of this poem is that death is a reality that everyone should face in life. This poem makes the readers accept this reality without any defence.
In the opening lines of the first stanza, the poet reminds us the futility of the glories of war and triumph. Both the kings and the peasants are reduced to dust. Death is thus inevitable for all and it really serves as a great leveller. The glory, our birth and our condition are simply like shadows, not substantial, not concrete. They will not last for long. We cannot escape from the icy hand of death. He doesn’t consider anyone as high birth or low birth. So we must be humble to accept the reality of life.
Some men fight courageous and capture lands, kills people and become victorious. But all their power is lost sooner or later. Ultimately they become the captives of death. The achievements and glories of one’s life will remain only till the moment of death. The glory and pride of men end up in grave. Every earthly achievement is short-lived. People will remember only our good deeds and just actions. Those good deeds and actions are like flowers. Thus the poet indirectly exhorts the readers to do good deeds. Those who do good deeds will have sweet smell. The good actions blossom in the dust.
The poem has used fine imagery. There are figures of speech like personification as in “Death lays his icy hands on kings”, and metonymy is used in “scepter and crown” and ‘seythe and spade’. Oxymoron is used in ‘victor-victim bleeds’ and metaphor is used in the line, ‘glories are shadows’ and actions of the just to flowers. The poem employs a beautiful rhyme scheme ababccdd.
Thus all the images and devices used by the poet provide a lot of clarity for the readers to realize the message of the poem. It is applicable to everybody to lead a good life doing good deeds. In my opinion, the poet has succeeded in making the point, “Death is the Leveller”.
3. SUNRISE ON THE HILLS BY H W LONGFELLOW.
“Sunrise on the Hills” is a didactic poem by famous American Romantic poet H.W Longfellow. It is really a celebration of the healing power of Nature. It presents the experience of the poet as he watches the sunrise amidst the hills. Throughout the poem, he compares the sun to a knight and nature to his sweet heart, the princess.
The poem begins with the description of the glorious returning march of the sun. The poet witnesses this from the top of the hill. The sun’s glory is now unveiled. The poet feels that the soft wind has passed to kiss the valley. The clouds have gathered midway round the wooded height. They appear like an army overpowered in the battle. The peaks were visible above the grey mist. Leafless pines were seen rocking on the cliff. The river’s flow was darkened by the forest’s shade. The noisy bittern circled in the sky. The poet heard the waters dashing in the distance. He saw the whirls and flash of the current. The tree branches were bending in the blue lake’s silver beach. The music of the village bell was echoing sweetly from the hills. The wild horn’s voice filled the whole wood land. Thus this poem abounds in visual imagery, auditory imagery and kinesthetic imagery.
Watching the sunrise on the hills leaves a profound and soothing effect on the poet and the poem mends with a piece of advice to the readers. Whenever you are surrounded by the sorrows of life go to the woods and hills. Nature has everything in it to keep your heart joyful.
This poem is really a subjective poem in which the speaker shares his own feelings and perceptions. The poem makes use of several poetic devices. It also abounds in images. The prominent one is the use of military image. It highlights the paradox in the poem. Man seeking solace from nature which itself is a battlefield. The first stanza abounds in visual imagery whereas the second stanza has numerous auditory images. The rhyme words and alliteration used in the poem enhance its lyrical quality. It employs poetic devices like oxymoron (Soft gales) and transferred epithet (noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way). The simile in the line “Clouds in their fading glory shone like hosts in battle overthrown’ suggests the military air of the poem.
The speaker returned to nature when he had a tough time and advises us to do the same when we confront with difficulties in life.
4. REVIEW OF THE POEM “TO SLEEP”
William Wordsworth’s poem “To Sleep” tells us the importance of having sound sleep in our life. The Poet is very confident that sleep will help us to remain mentally and physically fit. He wants sleep to visit him and bless him.
The poem is a sonnet of fourteen lines with a strict pattern of rhyme and rhythm. He begins the poem by describing peaceful pastoral scene. He gives a list of things in nature. The flock of sheep sets the mood of the poem. This really creates a cheerful and jolly mood. All the other images created by the poet in the beginning are the images of calmness. He is optimistic to think that all the peaceful images in the nature will help him to get a sound sleep.
The second stanza intensifies the sadness of the mood. He could hear the melodies of the small birds and the sad song of the cuckoo. The bird’s cry is personified and it seems to the poet as a sad cry. The cries are negatively presented here because it reminds the poet that morning comes soon.
The melancholy mood is further intensified in the third stanza. The poet shares his feeling that he can’t win sleep by any stealthy means. He says that he has already spent two sleepless nights. He wishes to win sleep the third night. Hence his prayer, “do not let me wear tonight away”.
The last stanza makes a difference in the mood. He thinks about the wealth and happiness that sleep will bring. He attributes all the morning’s glory, freshness of thoughts and the joyous health to sleep. He makes a prayer in the end, “come blessed barrier between day and day”. Thus the poem ends with a note of prayer.
This poem is really helpful for the readers to have a better view of life by living close to nature. The poet highlights the positive aspects of sound sleep. It appeals everyone as it is the real issue faced by men. It gives a number of thoughtful ideas. The tone of the poem is very serious as it deals with the philosophy of life. The philosophical statement, ‘Without Thee, what is all the morning’s wealth’ is worth to study.
The poet employs many poetic devices to highlight the theme of the poem very clearly. Alliteration is abundantly used eg. Flock, leisurely (‘l’sound), bees, sheets, smooth (‘s’ sound) and ‘stealth, wealth’(th). Assonance is used in bees, seas, trees etc. We can see metaphor also in attributing sleep as mother and barrier. Personification can be seen in “win thee”. True oxymoron is used in ‘blessed barrier’. The rhyme scheme used here is abba,abba, cdc, dcd.
Although the poem treats a simple theme, it has a deeper insight and philosophy of life. Modern people are interested to do everything instantly. They want to have sleep instantly by swallowing sleeping pills. This poem is really an answer to the problems of the modern people.
5. THE WRECK OF THE TITANIC
The poem, “The Wreck of the Titanic” written by Benjamin Peck Keith is about the world’s greatest tragedies at sea. This poem tells us how human beings can rise to heights of heroism and values at the time of disaster.
The Titanic starts its voyage from Southampton on April 14th 1942. She was a sea –dream and the largest and grandest of ships. Thousands of people on the shore watched the largest and the most luxurious ship on her maiden voyage. Everybody in the ship was feeling safe and nobody smelt death. The ship was hailed as the last work of man.
The beginning stanzas describe the happiness of the 2100mpassengers on their first trip on that grand ship. Suddenly the ship collided with an ice berg in the Atlantic Ocean and began to sink. The remaining stanzas describe the attitude of the Captain Smith, the Commander of the ship and his crew. He exhorted the crew to be patriotic. He helped the women and children to get into the life boats and saved their lives. This shows the courageous attitude of the Captain and the crew. The band played the hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee” and they all went down to the sea. The poet compares this incident to the patriotic incidents of the Battles of Trafalgar, Alamo, Waterloo, the Light Brigade and the brave deed of Jim Bludso.
This poem has great relevance today. It tells us how we should act at the time of disaster. This poem highlights the virtues of life such as courage, humanity, dedication to duty and patriotism. The poet has used simple and clear language. He has also made use of many poetic devices like metaphor and personification. The ship is described as a poem of iron and steel. It is also described as a sea- dream. We can see personification too. The ship is personified and described as a beautiful lady. The poem follows regular rhyme scheme aabb. The poem also gives insights about crisis management, patriotism and chivalry.