Poem 8: On the Grasshopper and Cricket
This is fine sonnet and symbolic poem in which the grasshopper is a symbol of hot summer and the cricket is of very cold winter.
Every poet has been attracted towards the beauty of nature and so has Keats been. He finds nature beautiful in all seasons not excluding the hot summer and cold winter.
He says that the earth is always singing. When the birds stop singing in the hot summer finding cool place, we find the grasshopper singing and flying from hedge. He sings tirelessly and when tired, rests beneath some weed.
When the birds are silent in very cold the earth never stops and expresses its pleasure through different beings like the cricket. It sings the beautiful songs from the stones. It seems to be increasing in warmth every moment and half-asleep human being feels it to be a grasshopper’s song coming from grassy hills.
Textual Questions and Exercises
Q1. Discuss with your partner the following definition of a poem.
Ans. A poem is made of words arranged in a beautiful order. These words, when read aloud with feeling, have a music and meaning of their own.
According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a poem can be defined as a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their sound and the images they suggest, not just for their obvious meanings. The words are arranged in separate lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and often the lines rhyme at the end.
Q2. ‘The poetry of earth’ is not made of words. What is it made of, as suggested in the poem?
Ans. ‘The poetry of earth’ is not made of words, but of the song and the rhythm produced by grasshoppers and crickets in various seasons. The music of the nature never loses its charm even with changing seasons. Summer and winter are the toughest seasons of the year. In summer it is extremely hot and in winter it is very cold. So in these two seasons there are rare songs of joy and music on earth. But here the poet points to the poetry of earth during summer and winter. In summer, the grasshopper seems to be excitedly hopping around, tirelessly, while even in lonely and dark winter nights, one can identify the shrill voice with which the insect cricket sings.
Q3. Find in the poem lines that match the following.
(i) The grasshopper’s happiness never comes to an end.
Ans. In summer luxury — he has never done
With his delights,
(ii) The cricket’s song has a warmth that never decreases.
Ans. The cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
Q4. Which word in stanza 2 is opposite in meaning to ‘the frost’?
Ans. The word ‘frost’ in stanza 2 differs in meaning with the word ‘grassy’. Frost has a chilly reference which means a degree or state of coldness sufficient to cause the freezing of water. This meaning lacks a green live feeling which is present in the word ‘grassy’. Grassy means something which is like grass or pertains to grass.
Q5. The poetry of earth continues round the year through a cycle of two seasons.
Mention each with its representative voice.
Ans. The poetry of earth continues round the years through the summer and the winter. In summer, the grasshopper’s voice represents the poetry of the earth. While in winter the cricket’s song represents the poetry of the earth.
Q6. What is the meanings of the line: ‘The poetry of earth is never dead’?
Ans. The poet wanted to say that poetry of nature is never going to end. No matter what the season is, whether it is the sweltering summer or the harsh cold winter, the music and the poetry of the nature is never dead.
Q7. What is main theme of the poem?
Ans. The main theme of poem is that poetry and music in nature do not perish.
Q8. Where do birds take rest in hot summer day?
Ans. The birds took rest under shady trees to secure themselves from the scorching heat of the sun.
Q9. Where do grasshopper take rest when he tired?
Ans. When grasshopper became tired, he rests ease beneath some pleasant weeds.
Q10. In which season cricket sing?
Ans. The cricket sung in winter. When it is very cold and quiet, the winter silence is broken by a shrill sound.