Small towns and rivers brainstorming, appreciation

Brainstorming of small towns and rivers

Appreciation of poem Small towns and rivers

A1 – Discuss the importance of nature in the lives of the people from the Northeastern part of India as expressed in the poem with reference to – (a) Flowers (b) River (c) Bamboo (d) East

Answer : 

(a) Flowers – Tuberoses are woven into wreaths to be placed on the body of a departed as a mark of  respect and love .

(b) River – The people believe the river has a soul. They respect their rivers and even refer it as divine as its waters are immortal.

(c) Bamboo –  The poet says ‘in the cool bamboo’. The colour is a cool green. The place where the bamboo grows is also cool.

(d) East – The direction of sunrise is very important for the people of Arunachal Pradesh. They ensure the dead are placed pointing west so that their soul directly enters the golden house of the sun. They believe that finally souls must attain the sun’s abode in the east.

Brainstorming A2 – (i) The poet has described her small town in Arunachal Pradesh. Pick out the lines that describe the poet’s town.

Answer : The lines which describe poet’s town are :-

  • The town has ‘ A shrine of happy pictures’ to mark the days of childhood.
  • Small towns grow with anxiety for the future.
  • Like her town, ‘small towns’ are ‘by the river’
  • ‘My hometown lies calmly amidst the trees’
  • ‘it is always the same ; In summer and winter ; With the dust flying ; Or the wind howling down the gorge’

(ii) Make a list of natural elements mentioned in the poem.

Answer : – Following are the natural elements mentioned in the poem :-

Trees, winter, summer, wind, tuberoses, life, land, river, fish, stars, earth, mountaintops, sun, sunlight, bamboo

(iii) ‘The river has a soul’. Elaborate the concept in your words as the poet has explained it in the poem.

Answer :- When the poet says ‘The river has a soul’ that time she personifies the river.

The river streams with incredible power ' like a downpour or despondency'. The river streaming with incredible power can resemble an individual spilling out anguish in a tempest of feeling. The stream additionally is by all accounts holding it's broadness, perhaps in light of the fact that it is gagging with rottenness. There are no fishes. It isn't clear and shimmering. So the artist says-'I think it holds its broadness looking for a place where there is fish and stars'.

(iv) The poet is convinced with the thought of immortality of water. Pick out the relevant lines.

Answer : (1) The river has a soul.

(2) from the first drop of rain to dry earth.

(3) mist on the mountaintops.

(4) the immortality of water.

(v) The poet has used some unconventional expressions . Illustrate them in your own words.

(a) Torrent of grief. (b) Shrine of happy pictures.  (c) The land of fish and stars.

Answer : (a) Torrent of grief :- The poet describes the river flowing in summer with great speed. Just like someone becomes emotional in great sadness, the force of the water seems to be like the outpouring of sorrow of the river.

(b) The shrine of Happy pictures :- There is a shrine probably in the town which has pictures inside. The pictures may be those of the happy moments experienced by the people in the town. Those memories are so sacred that it is a shrine to them. They protect and guard it because they have only sad and grim things things happening at present.

(c) The land of fish and stars :- The poet says she thinks the river is holding it’s breadth. One has to hold one’s breadth when he/she is unable to breathe or does not want to breathe. The river may be choking with garbage and is not able to breathe. The river may be stinking and may not be able to breathe.

As the river is so filthy there are no fish. It is dirty ; the water is not sparkling in the day and cannot reflect the stars at night.

So the river is in the search og a land where it can flow clean, it will have fish and where its clear water will sparkle in the sun and glitter with stars at night.

(vii) The poet has connected the need to preserve Nature with the belief of particular community and her childhood memories.

Write down the measures you would take to convince the people regarding the need to conserve the nature.

Answer : We need to make individuals everywhere understand that we are a piece of the nature not separated from nature. Saving nature is to save ourselves. To achieve this acknowledgment I can address my means to two segments. The first would be the youngsters. Saving the water would be first thing to educate kids. Narrating , sonnets, melodies, games, and kid's shows can without much of a stretch carry the protection thoughts to youthful personalities. I would take my plans to schools, parks, shopping centers and attempt to spread this to the youthful ones. The other area is obviously the grown-up open across monetary and social levels. The well-off individuals should not be indiscreet on the off chance that they can stand to cover bills they can squander assets. I will do all that could be within reach. I will utilize online media to spread different messages proverbs.

Brainstorming A3-

(i) Write down the expressions related to ‘ the seasons’ from the poem.

Answer : (1) Summer or winter (2) ‘In the summer’

(ii) Match the column ‘A’ with column ‘B’.

Answer :

Small Towns and Rivers – Match the following – Brainstorming A3

Brainstorming A4 –

(i) Read the expression ‘ a sad wreath of tuberoses.

‘ Is the wreadth sad ?’ Explain the figure of speech.

Answer : – The figure of speech is transferred epithet. The sad mourners have placed the wreath of tuberoses on the dead. The emotion of sadness has been transferred to the flowers for effect.

(ii) List and explain the metaphorical expressions from the poem. For example, ‘torrent of grief’

Answer : (1) Torrent of grief : The river sweeps along with great speed as if it is pouring out sorrow.

(2) Wind howling down the gorge : The wind blowing through the narrow gorges creates a sound exactly like howling.

(3) The river has a soul : The river is spoken of as a living being , a human.

(4) It holds its breadth : The river may be choking with debris and filth.

(5) Small towns grow with anxiety : This means when small-town communities expand, growth and prosperity bring the negative points also. If the town has to grow something of nature in the surroundings has to be destroyed. The eco-system is upset. So even if the growth means prosperity, there is also reason to worry about the damage we cause.

(6) Want to walk with the gods : The poet says that the people want to live in peace, among nature which god created. In the middle of natural surroundings, one feels god’s presence. Living there feels like living in god’s presence.

(iii) ‘ The river has a soul.’

‘ Life and death. ‘

These are the two expressions that are repeated in the poem; but both of them indicate different figures of speech. Find out and discuss.

Answer : (a) ‘Life and death’ :

In the first usage it is used as antithesis, to emphasise the beginning and end.

In second instance it is irony to indicate that neither life nor death is permanent. Ironically the rituals are permanent.

(b) ‘The river has a soul’

In the first instance it is used to personify the river . Several human-like qualities are attributed to the river.

  • It cuts through the land
  • it is cascading in grief
  • it holds its breadth
  • it seeks a land

(iv) Find out the beauty of the free verse reflected in this poem.

Answer : “Small towns and Rivers” is a free-verse poem. Each stanza has a different number of lines and there is no order for mixing up the short and long lines. Since there are irregular lengths of lines and no rhym scheme is present, the reading of the poem is almost like story- reading. 

The poem is not confined by an obvious rhythm so there is a kind of freedom. We are free to manage the widespread setting of the North-eastern terrain of mountains and rivers, mists, golden sunlight and the town by the river.

Brainstorming A5 –

(i) prepare the arguments for group discussion on the topic –

‘ A balanced progress never harms the nature’

Answer :


  • Growth should be planned to take place in stages
  • Planning vital for the growth
  • Sustainability must be ensured
  • Pros and cons of the damage to the environment must be weighed
  • Short-term gains in progress must no harm long-term eco-factors


  • Growth must not be halted for issues of environment
  • Costs will go up due to delays
  • Delays in progress will slow down economy and employment
  • Slowdown in economy will cause public to protest
  • Sacrifice have to be made , one can’t have the cake and eat it too.

(ii) Compose 4 to 6 lines on ‘Gift of the Seasons’.

Answer : – Gift of the Seasons

Each season brings a sweetly wrapt gift;

We can gift her back; by not doing water pollution in

the season of Sun.

Don't do  air pollution when

The rains come down.

And no degradation the rest of the year !

(iii) Write and appreciation of the poem ‘Small towns and Rivers’. Refer to the earlier poems for the points to be covered for appreciation.

Points :-

  • About the poem/poet/title
  • Theme
  • Poetic devices, language, style.
  • Special features, tone and type
  • Values message.
  • Your Opinion about the poem.

Answer : The poem ‘Small Towns and Rivers’ is written by Mamang Dai is a beautiful word-picture. It is also a lament of the poet about her beautiful native land of Arunachal Pradesh.

The theme of this poem shows in the way she begins the poem that small towns remind her of death. It is dreadful. She implies the town is unchanging in all weathers, but development comes along and changes everything. There is irony in that the cycle of life and death shows that life is not permanent, but the rituals are permanent.

The poet uses metaphor that the rivers are not only alive like us humans, but actually immortal. She personifies the river by way the river ‘holds its breadth’ because it is choking . It is flowing in search of a plane where it will flow clean and clear. The poet uses metaphor of the water cycle to Illustrate the river has a soul and its waters are immortal.

The poet builds a clumar, with ‘shrine of happy’ childhood memories. This becomes growing up- ‘grow with anxiety’. Then she speaks of how the dead are placed pointing the west so the soul can ascend directly into the sun’s golden home in the east. This tells us about the traditions of her region.

The poem is free verse and seems in to be in easy language, but we can understand the full depth of meaning only after reading it more than only once.

The poem is a lament about the destruction of nature for the development.

We all can feel the sorrow of the poet when we read about how nature’s beauty is damaged for man’s greed called ‘progress’.

(iv) Write the dialogue between two friends on ‘Importance of the rivers’

Answer : Sonali : Harman, it's a given that new spotless water is fundamental for human and nature to endure. Streams are valuable wellsprings of crisp drinking water for individuals across the world. Furthermore, when streams are so seriously dirtied by industry or by your water the executives rehearses. It very well may be an instance of critical. This tragically occurs across the world.

Harman : Yes Sonali, Freshwater living space represent the absolute most extravagant biodiversity on the planet, and waterways are a crucial, energetic environment for some species. Just the individuals who live by the waterway think about this abundance of nature. The individuals who live far away and harming the framework with the toxic substances don't know.

Sonali: People rely upon waterways for their lifestyle and their vocations. From fishing to farming, the manner in which our water waves are overseen straightforwardly affects individuals' lives. There are a great many individuals who follow their precursors' method of living and acquiring a vocation. Yet, current innovation has wrecised the actual wellspring of these.

Harman : Rivers are totally indispensable for crisp drinking water, for individuals' vocations and for nature. Lamentably, they're actually undermined. We should focus on recuperating freshwater biodiversity, reestablishing common stream streams and tidying up dirtied water for individuals and nature to flourish.

Sonali : Yes Harman. I concur. It is the crying need of the day.

Brainstorming A6 –

  1. Collect information about rivers in Maharashtra.
  2. Further reading : ‘The River Poems’ – Mamang Dai , The World Is Too Much With Us’ – William Wordsworth

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