BSEB Class 12 English Poem 3 Now the leaves are falling fast Summary, Explanation, and Question Answers from Rainbow Book 

Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast – BSEB Class 12 English Poem 3 Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast Summary and detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words from Rainbow Book. Also, the explanation is followed by the literary devices used in the Poem. All the exercises and Now the leaves are falling fast Question Answers given at the back of the lesson have also been solved.

 

BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Poem 3 – Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast

By W.H. Auden

 

 
 

Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast Introduction

 

The present lyric ‘Now the Leaves are Falling Fast’ enacts the frustration inherent in human life, the aspirations that are not fulfilled and the sense of loneliness in which every individual lives and dies. 
 
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Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast Summary

In the first stanza the poet explained how fast the leaves were falling from the trees and how the flowers wouldn’t last for that long. Flowers that were growing under or beside a supporting tree called ‘nurse’ were also dying to the grave and were being taken by a four wheeled baby carriage called prams. The poet compared human life with the trees and he meant that all human beings were going towards death very fast, due to diseases and other reasons. During their lifespan, their desires and aspirations were not fulfilled. So, they became hopeless and felt lonely. Like a tree, every human life had to be destroyed. Nothing would last that long. Despite this , the life cycle would go on.

In the second stanza the poet was frustrated by the behavior of selfish modern men. The poet explained that the messengers of death were present everywhere in different forms, to snatch human happiness. People show the feeling of fake love to one another. Poet also said that the hands that were active once would become ice cold after death by which he meant that the people who were alive today would die tomorrow. People had confined themselves. They were suffering from the sense of loneliness in which they lived and died.

In the third stanza the poet talked about hundreds of dead bodies which were being carried in wooden coffins at the back of people by raising their arms stiffly and expressing sharp disapproval or criticism of humans because of their behaviour or actions. The dead people were going empty handed as they were mocking the false attitude of human beings. Perhaps they  were saying that they were not taking anything from this world with themselves.

In the fourth stanza the poet compared the lives of old men to the leafess woods. He talked about how starving wicked and ugly creatures like wolves were searching for their prey in this world. As the gentlemen dared not to oppose them, they remained silent. Since the world had deteriorated too much, no angel would come to rescue them. The shocked silence of the nightingale completed the images of death.

In the last stanza the poet explained how a very desert-like situation, lifeless, hopeless and nothingness had enveloped it and when the winter came there was a hope for life. Then the mountain raised its head, satisfied the thirst of all those travellers who had been waiting for a very long time. The poet concluded the poem with a feeling of optimism. The poet said that like a tree every human life had to be destroyed. Death provided silence and peace like white waterfalls which produced inner pleasantness and peace.
 
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Video Explanation of Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast

 

 
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Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast Poem Explanation

 

Now the leaves are falling fast,

Nurse’s flowers will not last;

Nurses to the graves are gone,

And the prams go rolling on. 

Nurse’s flowers- flowers growing under or beside a supporting tree called ‘nurse’.

Prams- (perambulators) a four wheeled baby carriage.

In the first stanza the poet explained how fast the leaves were falling from the trees and how the flowers won’t last for that long. Flowers that were growing under or beside a supporting tree called ‘nurse’ were also dying to the grave and were being taken by a four wheeled baby carriage called prams. The poet compared human life with the trees and he meant that all human beings were going towards death very fast, due to diseases and other reasons. During their lifespan, their desires and aspirations were not fulfilled. So, they became hopeless and felt lonely. Like a tree, every human life had to be destroyed. Nothing would last that long. Despite this , the life cycle would go on.

 

Whispering neighbours, left and right,

Pluck us from the real delight:

And the active hands must freeze

Lonely on the separate knees. 

whispering neighbours: agents or messengers of death.

Pluck-  detach, take away

Freeze- become ice cold after death

In the second stanza the poet was frustrated by the behavior of selfish modern men. The poet explained that the messengers of death were present everywhere in a different form to snatch human happiness. The poet talked about how a man’s life was made miserable by the neighbors, who talked bad about them and took away their happiness. People show the feeling of fake love to one another. Poet also said that the hands that were active once would become ice cold after death by which he meant that the people who were alive today would die tomorrow. People had confined themselves. They were suffering from the sense of loneliness in which they lived and died.

 

Dead in hundreds at the back

Follow wooden in our track,

Arms raised stiffly to reprove

In false attitudes of love.

Wooden-  in wooden coffins

Stiffly- in a hardened, difficult way

Reprove- rebuke

Attitudes- ways of thinking

In the third stanza the poet talked about hundreds of dead bodies which were being carried in wooden coffins at the back of people by raising their arms stiffly and expressing sharp disapproval or criticism of humans because of their behaviour or actions. The dead people were going empty handed as they were mocking the false attitude of human beings. Perhaps they  were saying that they were not taking anything from this world with themselves.

 

Starving through the leafless wood

Trolls run scolding for their food:

And the nightingale is dumb.

And the angle will not come.

Starving- suffering or dying from hunger. 

Trolls- wicked and ugly creatures in Scandinavian mythology. 

Nightingale- a small migratory bird

Angle- artistic or human perspective.

In the fourth stanza the poet compared the lives of oldmen to the leafess woods. He talked about how starving wicked and ugly creatures like wolves were searching for their prey in this world. As the gentlemen dared not to oppose them and they were silent. Since the world had deteriorated too much no angel would come to rescue them. The shocked silence of the nightingale completed the images of death.

 

Cold, impossible, ahead

Lists the mountain’s lovely head

Whose white waterfall could bless

Travellers in their last distress. 

last distress- end of life, death 

In the last stanza the poet explained how a very desert-like situation, lifeless, hopeless and nothingness had enveloped it and when the winter came there was a hope for life. Then the mountain raised its head, satisfied the thirst of all those travellers who had been waiting for a very long time. The poet concluded the poem with a feeling of optimism. The poet said that like a tree every human life had to be destroyed.The death provided silence and peace like white waterfalls who produced inner pleasantness and peace.

 

Poetic/Literary Devices

Following poetic/literary devices have been used in the poem Ode To Autumn :

  1. Symbolism: Symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols, be they words, people, marks, locations, or abstract ideas to represent something beyond the literal meaning. “Prams go rolling on” symbolizes the cycle of life.
  2. Alliteration- It is the repetition of consonant sound in the line. Examples of alliteration in this poem are “falling fast” in the first line of the first stanza and “graves” and “gone” in the third line of the first stanza. 
  3. Rhyme scheme – aabb
  4. Anaphora – 

And the nightingale is dumb.

And the angle will not come.

5.Metaphor – ‘whispering neighbours’ – messengers of death compared to neighbours

6.Enjambment –  

Dead in hundreds at the back

Follow wooden in our track

 

Starving through the leafless wood

Trolls run scolding for their food:

 

7. Allusion – the reference to famous person, place or event. ‘Trolls’ are mythological creatures.
 
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Now The Leaves Are Falling Fast Question and Answer

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Exercise

 

B.1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements :

  1. a) The leaves are falling very fast.
  2. b) The nurses are still there to take care of the flowers.
  3. c) All the prams are gone to the grave.
  4. d) ‘Whispering neighbours’ disturb the ‘real delight’ of the ageing persons.
  5. e) Old persons feel lonely as they gradually become inactive. 
  6. f) Death freezes the body and separates us from the crowd of the people.
  7. g) The promises of love are often deceptive.
  8. h) Starvation and suffering do not characterise human life.
  9. i) Travellers get one relief in the waterfall of the mountain.
  10. j) ‘The prams go rolling on’ suggests the continuity of life.

Answer-

  1. a) The leaves are falling very fast. True
  2. b) The nurses are still there to take care of the flowers. False
  3. c) All the prams are gone to the grave. True
  4. d) ‘Whispering neighbours’ disturb the ‘real delight’ of the ageing persons. True
  5. e) Old persons feel lonely as they gradually become inactive. True
  6. f) Death freezes the body and separates us from the crowd of the people. True
  7. g) The promises of love are often deceptive. True
  8. h) Starvation and suffering do not characterise human life. True
  9. i) Travellers get one relief in the waterfall of the mountain. True
  10. j) ‘The prams go rolling on’ suggests the continuity of life. False

 

B.2. Complete the following sentences on the basis of the poem:

  1. Nurses to the ………………………. rolling one.
  2. Cold, impossible, ahead ………..…… lovely head………………….could bless ……………. last distress.

 

Answer-

  1. Nurse’s flowers will not last;

Nurses to the graves are gone,

And the prams go rolling one.

 

  1. Cold impossible ahead.

Lists the mountain’s lovely head

Whose white waterfall could bless

Travellers in their last distress.

 

B.3. Answer the following questions briefly:

1) What does the poet mean when he says “Now the leaves are falling fast”?

Answer-

The poet means that the leaves of the branches of the tree are falling and the trees are becoming leafless. It is also meant by a person who slowly goes to its death and at last in a grave. Like a tree, every human life has to be destroyed one day. There is none who can be alive forever as everyone is mortal.

 

2) What are the words in the second stanza that suggest death and the effect of death on human body?

Answer-

In the second stanza, the following are the words that suggest death and the effect of death on the human body: “Whispering neighbours, Pluck and Freeze.”

 

3) How do we complete our last journey to the grave?

Answer-

When a man is dead hundreds of men carry the dead body in a wooden coffin to the grave. This is how one completes their last journey to the grave. 

 

4) What do ‘Trolls’ do in the ‘leafless wood’?

Answer-

Trolls run in search of their food in the leafless wood. They search for food to live.

 

5) Who are the ‘travellers’ and how will they be ‘blessed’?

Answer-

Old persons are the travellers and travellers will be blessed by those white waterfalls which come out from the mountain’s head. They will be blessed in their last distress and that is death

 

6) Which words in the first stanza suggest objects from Nature?

Answer-

Nurse’s flowers‘ is the word in the first stanza that suggests objects from nature. It means ‘a nurse’.

 

7) Who are the ‘whispering neighbours’?

Answer-

Agents or messengers of death are the whispering neighbours who come when a human body is dead.

 

8) How does human life become miserable?

Answer-

Suffering from diseases and other problems make human life miserable and unhappy. 

 

9) In what way will the travellers be blessed? 

Answer-

Travellers will be blessed by those white waterfalls which come out from the mountain’s head. They will be blessed in their last distress.

 

C.1. Long Answer Questions

  1. Falling of leaves suggests the process of death and human waste on a large scale. Explain with reference to the poem.

Answer-

Falling of leaves suggested the process of death and human waste on a large scale.The poet compared human life with the trees and he meant that all human beings were going towards death very fast, due to diseases and other reasons.  Firstly, human life started as a baby and slowly it grew but after some time, human life suffered from a lot of diseases. Just like weather, human life also changes. When the weather changes the leaves fall down. In the same way, human life also decreases and decays.

During their lifespan, their desires and aspirations were not fulfilled. So, they became hopeless and felt lonely. Like a tree, every human life had to be destroyed. Nothing would last that long. Despite this, the life cycle would go on. It means human life is just like a leaf which falls from a tree.

 

  1. The poet is critical of the negative tendencies of human society. What are these tendencies? Give details.

Answer-

The poet is critical of the negative tendencies of human society. He wants to say that human life is totally dependent on human society. Without a human society, it can’t grow properly and also can’t do anything well.There are different kinds of caste or creed. The poet says that all human life is the same and belongs to the same society but the people create different kinds of caste and divide themselves. The poet says that it is not good.

 

  1. Who are the ‘Strolls’ in the real world ‘?

Answer-

According to the poet  W. H. Auden, those people are the ‘trolls’ in the real world who divide human life in different castes or creeds. These are the  people who commit crimes, give troubles to others and always think about wrong things. They don’t think about others and their problems. They hurt those people who are gentle. Such types of people are the ‘trolls’ in the real world.

 

  1. Though the poet refers to ‘death’ several times, yet the poem is not a pessimistic one. Justify your answer. 

Answer-

The poet refers to death several times in his poem, yet the poem is not a pessimistic one. In this poem, the poet compared human life with trees. He explained how trees become leafless in autumn. It looks like an old person who suffers from the illness. It seems that the poet has narrated the reality of life. Everything is bound to come to an end. But the circle of life and death will continue. As there are different types of seasons, people also suffer from different kinds of disease. But the poet concluded the poem with a feeling of optimism. The poet said that like a tree every human life had to be destroyed.The death provided silence and peace like white waterfalls who produced inner pleasantness and peace.

 

C.3. COMPOSITION

Write a paragraph in about 100 words on each of the following:

  1. If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Answer-

Life is blessed with good and bad. Human beings should understand the law of Nature. By winter it means sorrows and sufferings and by spring it means pleasures and joys. It says that as spring follows winter, so pleasure follows sorrow. So nobody is condemned to sorrows forever as nothing is permanent. Sometimes even sorrow makes a path for joy as it is said every dark cloud has a silver lining. As change is the law of nature, we should not be pessimistic but instead we should be optimistic and we should patiently bear bad times and not lose heart. Every person has his day of sorrows and pleasures but they do not last forever. Sometimes it is sorrow and at other times it is pleasure because nothing is permanent.

 

2. Let us make this world a better place to live in.

Answer-

Life is beautiful and the world is a beautiful place to live in. God blessed us with a beautiful world. But the world is starting to become a bad place to live in. Whether it’s from pollution or foreign matter. One needs to be resourceful with natural resources.  Man is giving so much pressure on this earth that an imbalance is created. Today, a time has come that there is no fellow feeling among the people. They are scared of believing other people. They are trying to protect and save themselves from their enemies in great fear. So it is our duty to make this world a better place to live in and enjoy its beauty. We should stop complaining and see positivity in everything. We should try to help and make the world a better place because one needs the world to live on.We should also help others whenever they need and take care of the environment. Always be kind, polite and patient. 

 

D. WORD STUDY

D.1. Dictionary Use 

Ex. 1. Look up a dictionary and write two meanings of the following words — the one in which it is used in the lesson and the other which is more common 

 

last lonely reprove freeze 
stiff attitude distress 

 

Answer-

 

Last-

  1. Previous
  2.  Rear
Lonely

  1. Alone
  2. Isolated
Reprove

  1. Scold
  2. Reproach
Freeze

  1. Chill
  2. Cool
Stiff

  1. Rigid
  2. Hard
Attitude

  1. Point of view
  2. view
Distress

  1. Pain
  2. Agony

 

   

D.2. Word-formation

Read carefully the following sentence taken from the poem:

And the prams go rolling on..

In the above sentence the word ‘pram’ is the shortened form of perambulators. Write down the short forms of the following:

 

examination _______________

programme   _______________

department _______________

congratulation _______________

modern _____________

advertisement ______________

Answer-

  1. Examination- Exam
  2. Programme- Prog
  3. Department- Dept
  4. Congratulation- Congrats
  5. Modern- Mod
  6. Advertisement- Ad.

 

D.3. Word-meaning

Ex 1. Write the antonyms of the following words and use them in your own sentences:

 

falling ______________ fast ______________
last ________________ real ______________
freeze _____________ separate ___________
responsive ______________ false ______________
impossible ____________ bless  _____________

 

Answer

 

falling – Raising fast – Slow 
last – First real – Fake
freeze – Melt separate – Together
responsive – Unresponsive false – True
impossible – Possible bless  – Curse

 

Sentences are-

  1. The oldest staff maintained discipline often just with the raising of an eyebrow and rarely shouted.
  2. Don’t be faint-hearted when things seem a bit slow or boring.
  3. I do not remember who spoke first, but we all expressed the same opinion.
  4. It’s safer to fake a tan with make-up than spend a lot of time in the sun.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a bowl suspended over simmering water.
  6. They all live together in a three-bedroom house.
  7. He was totally unresponsive to the pressing social and economic needs of the majority.
  8. The play follows the true story of the couple whose daughter has an extreme form of Asperger’s syndrome.
  9. Of course it’s possible that a severe shake-up would make your husband realize how much you really mean to him.
  10. Grandma protested, but he cursed her and rudely pushed her aside.

 

E. GRAMMAR

Ex.1. Read the following sentences carefully:

‘And the prams go rolling on’.

The line suggests continuity of an action. It can also be rewritten as: ‘And the prams go on rolling.’

 

Write five similar sentences with ‘go on’ using the following verbs: swim, walk, read, sleep, sketch.

Answer-

Sentences are as follows-

  1. The students go on swimming.
  2.  Healthy people go on walking.
  3.  The students go on reading.
  4.  The lazy go on sleeping.
  5. ‘The children go on sketching.

 

Ex. 2. Read the following sentences carefully:

‘And the active hands must freeze…”

 

In the above line ‘must’ suggests ‘compulsion’ or necessity. ‘Must’ is different from ‘should’ and ‘ought to’ which suggest ‘suggestion’ or ‘obligation’. Fill in the blanks with ‘must’, ‘should’, ‘ought to’ to complete the following sentences:

 

  1. We ……… follow a suitable time-table of study. 
  2. The young ………  be considerate about the sentiments of their elders.
  3. Death does not mean the end of everything, life  ………. go on.
  4. Why ……..  I always follow the fashion?
  5. We, the Indians, ……….. show respect to the national flag. 

 

Answer-

  1. We should follow a suitable time-table of study. 
  2. The young must be considerate about the sentiments of their elders.
  3. Death does not mean the end of everything, life must go on.
  4. Why should I always follow the fashion?

5. We, the Indians, ought to show respect to the national flag.

 
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