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12th English – Lesson 2 – Poem – Our Casuarina Tree

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12th English – Lesson 2 – Poem – Our Casuarina Tree

Warm Up

1. You visit your school after several
years. As you cross the banyan tree at the entrance, cheerful memories fill
your mind. Fill the bubbles with a your memories.

Answer:
Fun, Joy, Birds Music

 

1. Fill in the blanks choosing the words from the box given and
complete the summary of the poem.

[python,
statue, nature, casement, nostalgic, lamenting, impressive, forgotten, giant,
consecrates, springing, sanctified]

The casuarina tree
is tall and strong, with a creeper winding around it like a (1) _____ The tree
stands like a (2) _____ with a colourful scarf of flowers. Birds surround the
garden and the sweet song of the birds is heard. The poet is delighted to see
the casuarina tree through her (3) _____ She sees a grey monkey sitting like a
(4) _____ on top of the tree, the cows grazing and the water lilies (5) _____
in the pond. The poet feels that the tree is dear to her not for its (6) _____
appearance but for the (7) _____ memories of her happy childhood that it brings
to her. She strongly believes that (8) _____ communicates with human beings.
The poet could communicate with the tree even when she was in a far-off land as
she could hear the tree (9) _____ her absence. The poet (10) _____ the tree’s
memory to her loved ones, who are not alive. She immortalizes the tree through
her poem like the poet Wordsworth who (11) _____ the yew tree of Borrowdale in
verse. She expresses her wish that the tree should be remembered out of love
and not just because it cannot be (12) _____

Answer:

python

giant

casement

statue

springing

impressive

nostalgic

nature

lamenting

consecrates

sanctified

forgotten

 

2. Based on your understanding of the poem, answer the following
questions in one or two sentences each.

(a)
What is the creeper compared to?

Answer:
The creeper is compared to a lady love.

 

(b)
How does the creeper appear on the tree?

Answer:
The creeper appears like a huge python.

 

(c)
Describe the garden during the night.

Answer:
At night, the garden overflows with endless melodious song sung by the dark
king from the Casuarina Tree when the men are sleeping.

 

(d)
How does the poet spend her winter?

Answer:
In winter the poet observes a gray baboon that sits in the crust of Casuarina
Tree. It looks like a statue sitting and watching the sunrise. At the same
time, her young ones leap about and play in the lower branches of the tree.

 

(e)
Name the bird that sings in the poet’s garden.

Answer:
Nightingale sings in the poet’s garden.

 

(f)
Why is the casuarina tree dear to poet’s heart?

Answer:
Casuarina tree is dear to the poets’ heart because she and her childhood
friends played under that tree.

 

(g)
Does nature communicate with human beings?

Answer:
Yes, nature communicates with human beings. William Wordsworth is a strong
advocate of this communication.

 

(h)
What has Wordsworth sanctified in his poem?

Answer:
Wordsworth has sanctified trees in Borrowdale in his poems.

 

(i)
To whom does Toru Dutt want to consecrate the tree’s memory?

Answer:
Torn Dutt wants to consecrate the memories of the tree to her loved ones.

 

(J) The casuarina tree will be
remembered for ever. Why?

Answer:
The casuarina tree will be remembered forever because it is immortalized in
Toru Dutt’s poem.

 

Appreciate The Poem

3. Read the lines given below and answer the questions that follow.

(a)
“A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound

No
other tree could live.’’

 

(i)
Which tree is referred to in the above lines?

Answer:
Casuarina tree is referred to in the above line.

 

(ii)
How does the tree survive the tight hold of the creeper?

Answer:
The tree takes the tight hold of the creeper like the embraces of a lady love.
So, it doesn’t hurt the tree. It grows stronger bearing the bite marks of love.

 

(iii)
Why does Toru Dutt use the expression ‘a creeper climbs’?

Answer:
A creeper cannot grow without the support of another tree or a pole. While
climbing, it tries to sap the energy from the living tree. If the creeper
doesn’t climb, it would die without sunlight. So, the poet says the creeper
climbs. It twines its body around the tree and keeps climbing.

 

(b)
“The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are hung

In
crimson clusters all the bough among!”

 

(i)
Who is the giant here?

Answer:
Casuarina tree is the giant here.

 

(ii)
Why is the scarf colourful?

Answer:
The scarf is colourful because the tight embrace of the creeper has caused the
crimson colour on its outer skin. The poem has a reference to the three young
Dutt’s who were affected by tuberculosis and eventually died. The creeper could
also refer to TB which sapped the tree’s life.

 

(c)
“Fear, trembling Hope, and Death, the skeleton,

And
Time the shadow”, and though weak the verse That would thy beauty fain, oh,
fain rehearse,

May
Love defend tree from oblivion’s curse.”

 

(i)
What does the poet mean by the expression ‘May love defend thee from oblivion’s
curse?’

Answer:
Any living thing will have to meet death. But the poet deeply believes that her
love for the tree would ensure its immortality. She will live for ever in her
verses.

 

(ii)
What does the expression ‘fain’ convey?

Answer:
Fain means eagerly.

 

(iii)
What does the poet convey through the expression ‘Fear, trembling hope’?

Answer:
Fear and trembling hope mean the fear of lurking death and trembling hope is
that death may not attack in the near future.

 

4. Explain the following lines with reference to the context.

(a) “Dear is the Casuarina to my
soul;”

Answer:

Reference: These words are
from the poem ‘Our Casuarina Tree” written by Torn Dutt.

Context
and Explanation:

The poet says this while highlighting the importance of Casuarina tree in her
life. The poet explains that she, her friends and siblings have spent long
hours playing and enjoying themselves under the tree’s shade. So, it is dear to
her soul.

 

(b) “It is the tree’s lament, an eerie
speech,…”

Answer:

Reference: These words are
from the poem ‘Our Casuarina Tree” written by Torn Dutt.

Context
and Explanation:

The poet says these words while explaining the grief experienced by the
Casuarina tree in the long spells of her absence. Even when she was as far as
in the coasts of Italy and France she could hear the murmer of grief or lament
from her tree. It appeared an eerie speech.

 

(c) “Unto thy honor, Tree, beloved of
those

Who now in blessed sleep for aye
repose,”

Answer:

Reference; These lines are
from the poem ‘Our Casuarina Tree” written by Torn Dutt.

Context
and Explanation:

The poet says this while consecrating the memories of the tree to the dear
departed. The poet remembers with pain three younger Dutts who succumbed to
tuberculosis.

 

5.
Identify the figure of speech used in each of the extracts given below and
write down the answer in the space given below. The first one is done for yon.

(а)“LIKE a huge Python, winding round
and round

The rugged trunk, indented deep with
scars”,

Answer:
Zoomorphism / Simile

 

(b) “A creeper climbs, in whose
embraces bound

No other tree could live. But
gallantly

The giant wears the scarf, and flowers
are hung. ”

Answer:
Personification (As the creeper is said to embrace the tree, the tree also
gallantly, like a bold lover, accepts the embrace)

 

(c) “A gray baboon sits statue-like
aloner”

Answer:
Simile

 

(d) “The water-lilies spring, like
snow enmassed.”

Answer:
Simile

 

(e) “ What is that dirge – like murmur
that I hear Like the sea breaking on a shingle – beach?”

Answer:
Simile

 

6.
Answer each of the following questions in a paragraph of 100 -150 words.

 

(a)
Describe the reminiscences of the poet, when she sees the casuarina tree.

Answer:
The poet remembers how her days started with the sight of the Casuarina tree
from her casement. She remembers how her loving companions played under the
giant Casuarina tree. The memory of her beloved companions bring hot tears
because they had succumbed to cruel tuberculosis. She remembers how well the
tree accomodated birds to sing songs duimg days and nights. The tree had
allowed the creeper to embrace it like a lady love. Though it sapped its
vitality, like a gallant lover, allowed the creeper to stay around its neck
like a scarf. She remembers how a baboon seated at the crest of the tree had
watched beautiful sunrise while her young ones were leaping and playing in the
lower branches of the giant tree.

 

(b)
How does nature communicate with the poet?

Answer:
Like Wordsworth, Toru Dutt is also a great lover of nature. She has also had
mystical experiences in communion with nature. The emotional bonding between
herself and the giant Casuarina tree is beyond reason. When she is away on the
shores of Italy and France, she could distinctly hear the dirge-like murmer of
her beloved tree who obviously missed her. She could perceive it as the tree’s
lament and eerie speech expressing its anguish over the long spells of her
absence. Ordinary human eyes will fail to perceive the distinct communication
of the Casuarina tree. But through the eyes of faith, similar to William
Wordsworth’s inward eye in the poem ‘Daffodils’ it is possible. She was able to
vividly see in her inner vision the sublime form of the Casuarina tree. The
surprising thing is that she was able to see the tree in its prime in her own
“loved native clime.”

 

(c)
The poet immortalizes the tree. Elucidate.

Answer:
The poet, Toru Dutt was conscious of the fact that her most endeared Casuarina
tree was growing old. The fate that befalls aged humans and trees would
ultimately grab the Casuarina tree too. Time, though slow, is ready with its
sickle to harvest the lives of all living things. Being a well-read poet, she
recalls how William Wordsworth had immortalised his favourite lonely tall yew
tree in his poem, “Yew-trees”. Taking inspiration from him, she decides to
prevent her favourite tree from dying and passing into the irreversible world
of oblivion by writing a poem about the tree. True to her faith the tree lives
on in our memories. As long as tongues can speak and eyes can see, the
Casuarina tree will live in the hearts of millions of people till the end of
the world.

 

Listening Activity

 

First read the questions given below,
then listen to the poem, read aloud by the teacher or played on an audio
player. Then answer the questions based on your listening of the poem.

 

Midnight Wonders

I was tossing in my bedin the midnight
hour, struggling to get a wink of sleep, but my eyes lay on the clock tower.

 

I looked upon the dark sky; it was
adorned with sparkling pearls, which giggled at meand put a shine to my curls.

 

I gazed at the chubby moon, who was
white and glistening like milk. Gave me a lovely, motherly smile through her
lips as rosy pink.

 

All these magnificent objects made my
mind calm. My eyelids started drooping. I was grateful for their wonderful
charm.

 

Nature had arrived to aid me when I
was trying to catch sleep. She, with her caring palms, lulled me to a slumber,
so deep.

 

1.
The poet was tossing in the bed awake because ________

(a) he was worried

(b) he was
struggling to sleep

(c) it was day time

(d) he was tired

Answer:
(b) he was struggling to sleep

 

2.
The ________ were ‘sparkling as pearls’.

(a) moon

(b) sun

(c) stars

(d) meteoroids

Answer:
(c) stars

 

3.
The ________ gave the poet a motherly smile.

(a) sun

(b) stars

(c) moon

(d) sky

Answer:
(c) moon

 

4.
________ made the poet’s eyelids droop.

(a) Nature

(b) Rosy lips

(c) Songs

(d) Tiredness

Answer:
(a) Nature

 

5.
________ is the title of the poem.

(a) Wonders

(b) Midnight Wonders

(c) Nature

(d) Midnight dreams

Answer:
(b) Midnight Wonders

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