CBSE Class 11 Literature -Hornbill – The Voice of the Rain — Explanation and Q & A

The Voice of the Rain by Walt Whitman

About the poet ..
Walt Whitman (1819-’92) was an American poet, whose non-conventional views on religion, friendship, and social mores created an endless chain of criticism. Controversy triggered by his book ‘Leaves of Grass’ plagued him all his life. He was a maverick, no doubt, but he was deeply humane and sensitive. He developed a particular adoration for Nature as his poetic career developed. This poem, ‘The Voice of Rain’ is one of his Nature-centric creations.

The poem….
The poem is a conversation between the author and a rain drop hurtling down to earth from the sky above. The author is fascinated by the way the cycle of evaporation and precipitation of water from and to the earth goes on and on relentlessly. The process helps to rejuvenate the parched, lifeless earth, and helps the flora and fauna to get a new lease of life. Water particles vaporize from every part of earth in summer. From mountains, to deep seas to parched fields, water particles move upward. On reaching the sky, they coalesce to form the dark rain-laden clouds. In due course, the clouds burst open, sending down pure, life-sustaining water down that fall on every part of earth in day and in night, making no discrimination. This process happens under the watchful eyes of Mother Nature’s kindly eyes.
The author likens the rain to a song. Before a poet writes his poem, the urge and the inspiration take shape in his heart as a song. In time, the inner voice finds its form as a poem. This is how the song morphs to a poem. After the readers read it, analyze and acclaim it, it resonates in the poet’s heart as a ‘song’. The process is similar to water vapors escaping the earth to form clouds, and then returning to earth to refresh the biosphere.
The idea expressed in this poem reflects the deep bonding between the poet and Nature.
Question and answer … 

Think it out ..

Q1. There are two …. …………………….. Ans … There are two voices.  The author’s is the voice that asks. The rain’s voice comes as the answer. The first line is the question posed by the author. The rest of the poem is the Earth’s answer.

Q2.  What does the phrase ………………………………. Ans … The Earth is not a living being, so it can’t talk. Here, the author hears the Earth’s voice because he tunes his senses to Nature’s actions on Earth. This is strange for most of us as we don’t have such superior sense of observation.

Q3. There is a parallel ……………………………..Ans …. The spark for music lies deep inside heart. It takes shape, reaches the public domain, and returns to the poet’s heart. In the same way, water vapors start their upward journey from every nook and corner of earth, form clouds, and then come down to earth. There is, therefore, a parallel here. The similarity lies in the eternal cyclic journey of music and rain water.

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