Text of the poem
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Idea of the poem
"Autumn” in this poem means that we should never look back into our past life & we should make use of our present life to the fullest so that our past life do not reflect our future life. Naidu has defined a perfect picture of a season by capturing the bitter-sweet anxiety that colors the change between the lively summer season & the deathly winter season.
'Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow… Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves…'
Naidu has movingly described guilt in “Autumn” song. It is an outstanding achievement in terms of evocation and tone.
'My heart is weary and sad and alone, For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone, And why should I stay behind?'
Autumn song is wonderfully written from the view point of a human being in the autumn of his/her life. It describes a situation where people wonder why they have actually out-lived their dreams. In this song Naidu has used lyrical language and simple end rhymes to parallel personal loneliness & loss with beautiful fragility of autumn. As we all know autumn is a beautiful season which everyone admires. Hence Naidu has explained the view, the nature, the feelings, what she is able to hear and has described it wonderfully.
In her autumn song Naidu is trying to show its readers that she is sad but then too her surroundings are so beautiful and nice. Naidu was highly influenced by her mother Gopala Krishna Gokhle who was also a poet. Naidu’s mother influenced her to write about the independent spirit of India & guided her to use her talents to “Free Mother India”. Autumn song is one of Naidu’s effort to free mother India.
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Context of the poem
About the Author
Sarojini Naidu was born on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad, India. Naidu wrote poetry from a young age, was very intelligent and was able to speak 5 languages. While studying at Kings College in England, in 1916 she met Mahatma Gandhi who inspired her to become an activist and politician for Indian independence. She joined his movement and was greatly responsible for inspiring the women of India to stand up for their rights. Nine years later she was elected the first female President of the Indian National Congress. She was also the first female Governor in India. She is now known as “The Nightingale of India”; her birthday is celebrated as Woman’s Day. Her poems were her passion; she wrote poetry about Indian life.
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Transacting the text
In ‘Autumn Song,” Sarojini Naidu uses lyrical language with simple end rhymes in order to parallel personal loss and loneliness with the beautiful frailty of autumn. She capitalizes on wind as a metaphor for change and loss of “joy” in the fair frailty of Autumn. The change from the invocation of nature to the personal address in the last stanza, specifically in the last line, gives the speaker urgency to move on from the loss and not linger in sorrow that she hears in the “wind.”
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Pictures/ video clips are an interesting way of assisting students to comprehend a poem. A picture helps in creating a visual memory and can also help in understanding new words.
To listen to an audio recital of this poem, click here.
Figures of speech
A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, or personification. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetorical figure or a locution. To know more click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech
To access other works of Sarojini Naidu, click here.
Ask the learners to write a short paragraph using the hints given below.
- What is the poem about?
- Which is the most striking image and why?