HomeStd XII PoetrySmall Towns and Rivers

Small Towns and Rivers

2.8 Small Towns and Rivers

New words:

Calmly- peacefully शांतपणे

Howling- Making a loud sound मोठा आवाज करणे

Gorge- a narrow valley खिंड, दरी

Wreath- an arrangement of flowers, leaves and stems in a ring to place on dead body or grave पुष्प चक्र

Ritual- a religious process, action धार्मिक विधी

Torrent- a strong and fast-moving stream of water पाण्याचा जोरदार प्रवाह

Immortality- the ability to live forever अमर

Shrine- sacred place, temple पवित्र जागा

Restored- put back पुनर्जीवन

Anxiety- tension चिंता

Poetic Appreciation-

The Poet:

Mamang Dai is a poetess, novelist & journalist. She is a former civil servant from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. She writes in English as well Adi language. She is also active radio & TV journalist. She was a programme officer with Worldwide Fund. She received Padmashree & Sahitya Akademi Award. She is a strong voice from the North East. She the writer & poet of excellence. Her work has the fragrance of her land and her people.

The Poem:

‘Small Towns and Rivers’ is one of the most famous poems. It is a nature poem. It is taken from the collection of the poems ‘The River Poems’. It describes a landscape and Nature where river is a dominant phenomenon.

Through the poem, the poetess makes us aware of the lively nature around her hometown ‘Pasighat’. It reflects the eternity of the natural elements. In this poem, She finds that even life & death are transient. The poem is based on the belief of the tribal people from the North East. She implies that the town’s have prospered when nature has been destroyed. The poetess has expressed anxiety at the developments in the small towns.

‘स्मॉल टाउन्स अँड रिव्हर्स’ ही ममंग दाई यांची सर्वात प्रसिद्ध कविता आहे. ही निसर्ग कविता आहे. ‘The River Poems’ या कवितासंग्रहातून ही कविता घेतलेली आहे. यात जमिनीचे सौंदर्य आणि निसर्ग यांचे वर्णन कवयित्री करते. नदी या कवितेत एक प्रमुख घटक आहे.

या कवितेच्या माध्यमातून कवयित्री आपल्या गावी ‘पासीघाट’च्या आजूबाजूच्या अलौकिक निसर्गाची जाणीव करून देते. नैसर्गिक घटकांचे शाश्वत रूप ती अधोरेखित करते. या कवितेत कवयित्री ला असे दिसते की जीवन आणि मृत्यू देखील क्षणिक आहेत. ही कविता ईशान्येकडील आदिवासी लोकांच्या श्रद्धेवर आधारित आहे. निसर्गाचा ऱ्हास झाला तेव्हा शहराची भरभराट झाली असे तिचे म्हणणे आहे. कवयित्रीने छोट्या शहरातील निसर्गावर होत असलेल्या आघातांची चिंता व्यक्त केली आहे.

Title of the poem:

The title ‘Small Towns and Rivers’ is very significant. It symbolises visual imagery of nature. It shows the poetess’s personal emotions related with her town. It focuses on the world of nature. She presents nature as alive with spirits.

Theme/Central Idea of the poem:

The theme of the poem is preservation & conservation of natural elements. The poetess treats life and death as transient, but nature as permanent. She has profound respect for the old heritage. She remembers the association of humans & nature. She laments on the destruction of nature.

Poetic Style/Language Features/Poetic Devices:

The use of poetic devices enhances the beauty of the poem. The poetess has used variety of poetic devices like Alliteration, Repetition, Simile, Metaphor, Inversion, Antithesis, Personification, Onomatopoeia, Transferred Epithet etc.

Poetess has used simple and easy language. The poem consists of seven stanzas of unequal length. It is written in free verse. The lines are short. The poetess presents the anxiety of her mind regarding the nature using apt words.

Special Features:

The poetess used free verse to deal with the universal theme. There are no rhyming words. There is no specific rhyme scheme. It reflects visual imagery. The word picture shows anxiety of the poetess. She considers river as having soul. She appeals to conserve the nature.

Moral of the Poem:

The poem gives us the message that we should be aware of the degradation of the natural elements. There is the need to protect and conserve the natural elements. It conveys poets mixed and antithetical feelings about nature.

My Opinion about the poem:

It is one of the best nature poems. The poetess tries to make aware the readers about the importance of nature. Poetess suggests us that we should not destroy nature’s beauty for the sake of our progress. It is wonderful and thought-provoking poem.

See More:

Song of the Open Road

Indian Weavers

The Inchcape Rock

Activity Sheet No. 1

Small Towns and Rivers– See Activity Sheet

Q. Read the extract and complete the activities given below. (10)

Small towns always remind me of death.
My hometown lies calmly amidst the trees,
it is always the same,
in summer or winter,
with the dust flying, or the wind howling down the gorge.  

Just the other day someone died.
In the dreadful silence we wept looking at the sad wreath of tuberoses.
Life and death, life and death,
only the rituals are permanent.  

The river has a soul.
In the summer it cuts through the land like a torrent of grief.
Sometimes, sometimes, I think it holds its breath                                  
seeking a land of fish and stars.

A1. Complete

Complete the web inserting specific information of poet’s town.

Small Towns and Rivers

A2. Describe (2)

Describe the river in the third stanza.

River is personified and described as having a soul. During the summer season, the river had less water. It seemed to cut the land and flow expressing grief. The poet feels that the river was holding her breath. She might keep her strength to bring a land of fish and star in the coming monsoon season.

A3. Personal response (2)

Most of the civilizations have flourished on the banks of the rivers. Give any four reasons of it.

1) Water is life and without water there is no life.

2) Rivers facilitate trade, production and distribution of agricultural goods.

3) Rivers are used for bathing, recreation and religious purposes.

4) River brings fertile soil which is very important for farming.

A4. Poetic device (2)

Write two examples of repetition from the extract.

1) Life and death, life and death.

2) Sometimes, sometimes, I think it holds its breath.

A5. Poetic creativity (2)

Write a four-line poem describing your native place.

My village is a beautiful place

I get there solace

I can’t visit it everyday

I am busy I have to sadly say





See answers in the following book-

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