POEMS
Practice 1

IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP

At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair

The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their son’s
albino buffalo that was never found

There were born amidst hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves

By Latiff Mohidin Translated by Salleh Ben Joned

  1. Why were their clothes ‘soaky’?

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  1. Write down the line in the poem which reveals that this incident took place in a village?

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  1. What does the phrase “bloated carcasses” refer to?

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4.   In your opinion, what kind of attitude do the last two lines imply? Explain.

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Practice 2:

IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP (stanzas 1 and 2)

At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair

The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their son’s
albino buffalo that was never found
By Latiff Mohidin Translated by Salleh Ben Joned

  1. Write down the line which shows that they have been out for long hours?

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  1. The theme may not be exactly about hardship as implied by the title. What is the theme related to?

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  1. What does the phrase ‘albino buffalo’ reveal?

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  1. What moral value did you learn from the poem? Explain.

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Practice 3:

He Had Such Quiet Eyes (Stanzas 1 and 2)

He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

If only she’d been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She’d be free from “the hows and whys”
Bibsy Soenharjo-1968

  1. What does the phrase ‘two pools of lies’ refer to?

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  1. Which lines show that the man is saying “I love you, and if you love me, prove it!”

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  1. Which stanza shows that there is a sense of regret?

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  1. What do you understand by the phrase “the hows and whys”?

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Practice 4:

He Had Such Quiet Eyes

He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

If only she’d been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She’d be free from “the hows and whys”

Now here’s a bit of advice
Be sure that nice really means nice
Then you’ll never be losing at dice
Though you may lose your heart once or twice
Bibsy Soenharjo-1968

  1. What does the phrase ‘thinnest ice’ imply?

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2.In this poem, the poet talks about the betrayal of a young girl’s feelings for a man. She believes in his sincerity to her as he had pleaded to her to surrender to him. Write the two lines depicting this.

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3.What is the main theme in this poem?

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4.What did you learn from this poem? Explain.

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Practice 5:

Are You Still Playing Your Flute?

Are you still playing your flute?

When there is hardly time for our love

I am feeling guilty

To be longing for your song

The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo

Uncovered by the breath of an artist

Composed by his fingers

Blown by the wind

To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted

Amidst the sick rice fields

While here it has become a luxury

To spend time watching the rain

Gazing at the evening rays

Collecting dew drops

Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Are you still playing your flute?

The more it disturbs my conscience

to be thinking of you

in the hazard of you

my younger brothers unemployed and desperate

my people disunited by politics

my friend slaughtered mercilessly

this world is too old and bleeding.

By Zurinah Hassan

  1. Who is the persona in the poem?

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2. Write one line from the poem that depicts that people are jobless.

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3. Provide three phrases that depict the message of cruel realities of a nation in uncertainty of its future.

 

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 4.In your own words describe why the poet used the word “sick” to describe the rice fields.

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Practice 6:

Are You Still Playing Your Flute? (Stanzas 1 and 2)

Are you still playing your flute?

When there is hardly time for our love

I am feeling guilty

To be longing for your song

The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo

Uncovered by the breath of an artist

Composed by his fingers

Blown by the wind

To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted

Amidst the sick rice fields

While here it has become a luxury

To spend time watching the rain

Gazing at the evening rays

Collecting dew drops

Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

By Zurinah Hassan

1.    What did the persona mean when she said ‘deserted’?

 

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2.   Why is the persona feeling guilty?

 

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3.  Why is the question “Are you still playing your flute’ repeated as the starting line of all the stanzas?

 

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 4.In your opinion, is this a romantic poem? Provide reasons for your answer.

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Practice 7:

Nature by H.D Carberry

We have neither Summer nor Winter

Neither Autumn nor Spring.

We have instead the days

When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields-

Magnificently.

The days when the rain beats like bullet on the roofs

And there is no sound but thee swish of water in the gullies

And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds.

Also there are the days when leaves fade from off guango trees’

And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun.

But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom

When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,

When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,

When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars

And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.

  1. In your words describe the weather as depicted in the poem.

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2. State one moral value that you have learnt from the poem.

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3. Note that the poem ends with the line “and beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone”. Describe how this bears a resemblance in our life.

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4. In the opening lines of the poem, the poet describes the things that are absent. In your opinion, what is the poet trying to convey?

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Practice 8:

Nature by H.D Carberry

We have neither Summer nor Winter

Neither Autumn nor Spring.

We have instead the days

When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields-

Magnificently.

The days when the rain beats like bullet on the roofs

And there is no sound but thee swish of water in the gullies

And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds.

Also there are the days when leaves fade from off guango trees’

And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun.

But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom

When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,

When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,

When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars

And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.

  1. Why do you think H.D.Carberry wrote the poem?

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  1. List three words related to nature.

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  1. Which line in the poem ‘Nature’ suggests the sense of smell?

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  1. Based on your knowledge of the poem ‘Nature’, describe a theme in the poem.

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ANSWERS.

Poem

In The Midst Of Hardship

Practice 1

  1. They were wet
  2. desperately looking for their son’s
    albino buffalo that was never found
  3. animals killed as they drowned in the flood water.
  4. Optimistic,- they were making jokes not crying or show signs of despair.

Practice 2

  1. The whole day and night just passed
  2. Facing hardship with optimism
  3. They are in the village as people in the town will not rear buffaloes.
  4. Despite the hardship, we must remain resilient and strong. Often, the difficult time is not a permanent one.

 

He Had Such Quiet Eyes

Practice 3

  1. The eyes are compared to deceit.
  2. Imploring her to be nice
    And to render him paradise.
  3. Stanza 2
  4. The hows and whys is compared to a situation where one gets hurt emotionally and tries to solve the problem.

Practice 4

  1. dangerous
  2. To her, those quiet eyes
    Were breathing desolate sighs
    Imploring her to be nice
  3. Deceit
  4. We sometimes encounter people who have ill intentions towards us. We should take precaution against them.

Are You Still Playing Your Flute?

Practice 5

  1. a very perceptive and reflective woman.
  2.  my younger brothers unemployed and desperate
  3. my people disunited by politics

my friend slaughtered mercilessly

this world is too old and bleeding.

4.Perhaps the yield is not rewarding/ the harvest is destroyed due to bad weather.

Practice 6

  1. the villagers have left/migrated.
  2. Feeling guilty as she is enjoying the music when the nation is plagued with problems
  3. This is to stress on the activity as something that should not be done when the nation is facing so much trouble.
  4. No, it is not a romantic poem. It is poem that shows the irony between a leisure activity and problems faced by the nation at the same time.

Nature

 

Practice 7

  1. The poem highlights the appealing climate conditions on theislandofJamaica.
  2. We must appreciate the beauty of nature.
  3. This is a big resemblance to our life, as it has been our experience that after bad times, good times will follow and sometimes ever so abruptly.
  4. It is to highlight the pleasant climate on the island. It has no extreme weather conditions.

Practice 8

  1. He wants to celebrate the richness of the land’s produce and how alive and plentiful Nature is.
  2. b.      gold sun, rain, trees.
  3. The line, “When the bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey”
  4. Appreciating one’s country-Life in one’s country has its share of ups and downs but one must always look at the brighter side of life. In this poem, the poet stresses on his country’s weather being sunny, rainy and windy. The poet states that we must appreciate what we have.