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The Voice of the Rain

2 marks
There are two voices in the poem. Who do they belong to? Which lines
indicate this?
The two voices in the poem are the voice of the rain and the voice of the poet.
The lines are “And who art thou? Said I ……..” and ‘I am the poem of Earth’.

What does the phrase ‘strange to tell’ mean?


The phrase ‘strange to tell’ means that it is an unusual and extraordinary
answer given by the rain drops to the poet who asked who ‘it was’.

There is a parallel drawn between rain and music. Which words indicate
this? Explain the similarity between the two?
I am the poem of Earth’
‘For song, issuing from its birth place
After fulfillment, wandering, reck’d or Unreck’d, duly with love returns. They
both return to the place of their origin after fulfilling their tasks.

How is the cyclic movement of rain brought out in the poem?


The poet explains that the rain drops in the form of water vapour rise up from
land and sea and then descend again on the earth and dry land in order to wash
it down and hence comes back to its origin. This is the cyclic movement
explained by the poet.

Why are the last two lines put within brackets?


The last two lines are put within brackets because they do not form the voice of
the rain or the poet. They only contain a general observation made by the poet
about the course of a song.

List the pairs of opposites found in the poem.


The opposite pairs found in the poem are
i) day and night
ii) reck’d or unreck’d

The poem begins with a conversational tone. Who are the two
participants? What is the advantage of this method?
The two participants are the poet and the voice of the rain which answer the
poet’s question. The advantage of this method is to maintain continuity of
thoughts and ideas expressed by the poet and to bring about clarity in what he
wants to express.

‘Behind the apparent simplicity, the poem hides a deep meaning’. What
exactly does the poem convey to the reader?
The poem conveys that like a poem, the rain is also everlasting and has an
unbreakable chain of life cycle. It rises from the earth, comes back to it. The
song also issues from its birth place, wanders here and there, whether heeded to
or not, returns with love to its own origin.
How does the rain justify its claim ‘I am the Poem of Earth’?
The rain calls itself the poem of earth because, the poem rendered by a poet,
has the task of bringing joy, happiness, life to its readers. In the manner, the
rain drops, and falling over drought stricken earth, brings new life to the land as
it also returns to its origin just like the rain drops.

What does the rain do to the things day and night?


The rain falls on the earth, and washes away the drought, it also helps the seeds
to germinate and bring forth new life on the earth. Without it, all life on earth
would become lifeless.

What answer did the rain give to the poet about its origin?
The rain answered that it was the poem of the earth. It rose eternally out of the
land and bottomless sea into the sky. There its form changed but essence
remained the same.

On what does the ‘rain descend’? What does it do to the things on which it
falls?
The rain descends on droughts, atoms and dust particles on the surface of the
earth. It also falls on everything that is on the earth. It gives life to the things on
which it falls. The things that do not get rain remain like seeds latent and
unborn.

4 marks

And who art thou? Said I to the soft falling shower,


This, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here
Translated:
I am the poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain

a) Name the poem and the poet.


The poem is ‘The Voice of the Rain’ and the name of the poet is ‘Walt
Whitman’.

b) Who does ‘I’ refer to in the first and third line of this extract?
‘I’ in the first line is referred to the poet asking a question. ‘I’ in the third line is
the rain drop.

c) What do you understand by the phrase ‘Strange to tell’?


‘Strange to tell’ means that it is an unusual and extraordinary answer given by
the raindrops to the poet who asked who ‘it’ was.

d) How has the answer been conveyed to us and what is it?


The poet has personified the rain drop and it is answering the poet’s question
by saying that it is the ‘poem of the Earth’.
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land
And the bottomless sea,
Upwards to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d altogether
Changed, and yet the same

a) From where does the rain originate?


The rain originates from the land and the bottomless (deep sea) in the form of
water vapour.

b) How does it originate?


With the heat of the sun, the water evaporates from the sea or land and forms
water- vapour which rises up in the atmosphere.

c) What happens to the rain in the sky?


In the sky, the rain drops form the rain. Their form has changed but the essence
has remained the same.

d) Name the poem and the poet.


The poem is ‘The Voice of the Rain’ and the poet is Walt Whitman.

I descend to lave the droughts,


Atomies, dust- layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds
Only, latent, unborn
a) With what purpose does the rain descend from the sky?
The rain drops fall from the sky in order to give life to the dry areas and wash
the famine-stricken lands.

b) How does the rain help the seeds?


The rain helps the seeds to germinate and grow into a new life.

c) Give the meanings of the words from the given lines:


i) come down - descend
ii) to wash - lave

d) What is latent and unborn and why?


The seeds are dormant and unborn because of lack of water which is needed for
them to germinate and form a new plant.

And forever, by day and night, I give


Back life to my own origin,
And make pure and beautify it;

a) In what manner does the rain help its own origin?


The rain helps its own origin by watering the land and quenching the thirst of
drought stricken areas.
b) Why has the poet given the life cycle of the song?
The poet has compared the life cycle of the rain drops to that of the song saying
that they both return to their origin after fulfilling their tasks.

c) What is made ‘pure’?


The earth on which rain falls is made ‘pure’.

d) Which words in the given lines mean


i) eternal - forever
ii) source - origin

(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfillment, wandering


Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns).

a) Why are the last lines put within brackets?


The last lines are put in brackets because they do not form the voice of the rain
or the poet. They only certain a general observation by the poet about the
course of a song.

b) ‘Reck’d or unreck’d’, what does this phrase mean?


Reck’d or unreck’d means whether cared for or not cared for.

c) Where does the song return?


The song returns to the place of its origin i.e. comes back to the poet.

d) Which word in the lines means ‘originating’?


Issuing

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