Poetry Questions and Answers

Share via Whatsapp

QUESTION 1

When We Were Young

When we were young we could not tell our dreams,
We had no words to spell our joys and fears,
Loves, lusts, desires sang loud within our blood,
None heard their music or our silent fears.

Silent we knew despair and ecstasy,
Richer and deeper without stain of words,
Language had not corrupted what we felt,
Our loves and lusts were pure because unheard.

Older, we lose our primal, wordless ease,
In joy, delight, despair, language smears,
Inky fingers on emotion's pages,
And worldly lies distort our lives and fears.

  1. Who are the "we" in the poem? (2 marks)
  2. Why couldn't the "we" talk about their feelings when they were young? (2 marks)
  3. According to the poem, how do older people express their feelings? (4 marks)
  4. What is the persona's attitude to language? Explain your answer. (3 marks)
  5. Identify and explain the use of any two poetic devices evident in this poem. (6 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following words as used in the poem. (3 marks)
    1. spell
    2. ecstasy
    3. primal

ANSWERS

  1. The older people vallecting on their childhood.(2 marks)
  2.  
    1. When we were young 'we' could not talk about their feelings because they had no languageto express themselves"we had no words to spell..."
    2. Certain feelings and emotions cannot sometimes be adequately expressed through language- silence we knew despair and ecstacy, (2 marks)
  3.  
    1. The older people find it hard to express their feeling. They use language to cover up their truc feelings because they fear what others may think of them.
    2. They are insincère because they are afraid of other people's opinions. They lie to cover up their fears.
  4.  
    1. The person's attitude to language is ironic because language is supposed to make communication easier but in this case it distorts or hides what one really feels
    2. The attitude is suspicious. This is is because instead of language making things clear, it becomes a barrier to communication(3marks)
  5.  
    1. Metaphor -eg "without stain of words"
      Language smears inky fingers on emotion's pages". The images clearly shows how language soils natural emotions/feelings.
    2. Rhyme-eg smears and fears
      creates thythin and musicalty
    3. Alliteration - loves,lust delights- despair
      creates rhythm, makes poem musical af interesting
      Expect identification, illustration and effect of the device, 3x2- (6 marks)
  6.  
    1. Spell -articulate/ Express
    2. Ecstasy-excitement/ delight/ jubilation
    3. Primal basic /untainted (Any 1-2 marks)

QUESTION 2

It is Well!
He is coming back to us after many years away.
We released him to you young, vibrant and eloquent.

But you ;ve brought him back,
To the cradle, this great son of the soil
A "mganga" with a heavy tongue,
Vanguished, punctured, empty-handed
With eyes continually dripping
Could he be saddened by our predicament
Or are they tears of regret?

We gave him out as the best we could find,
One who had we known, we ;d have kept around here
to look after our affairs.

He was a good Son, blessed of the clan,
That Son you people mocked, is a good Son!

But see who you have brought us back!

Well, he is ours and we ;ll build him a house by the shore!

By Odhiambo Kaumah (Edited)

  1. Who could be the ‘We’ in the poem? Explain. (2 marks)
  2. Mention any two changes highlighted in the poem. (2 marks)
  3. Illustrate the use of any two poetic devices which qualify this as an oral poem. (4 marks)
  4. Explain the subject matter of the poem. (3 marks)
  5. What is the effect of the line: ‘But see who you have brought us back!’? (2 marks)
  6. Explain the persona’s attitude towards the ‘good Son’ (3 marks)
  7. Why do you think the word ‘Son’ begins with a capital letter? (2 marks)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following expressions as used in the poem. (2 marks)
    1. Heavy tongue
    2. Empty-handed

ANSWERS

  1. The good Son’s kinsmen/Tribesmen/Clan members - He’s ours/We gave him out…
    • Any well illustrated point, 2 marks; ident.1mark, illust. 1 mark
  2.  
    • He was once vibrant/strong but now punctured/weak/tired
    • He was once eloquent but has a heavy tongue now
      Any two points, 1 mark each
  3.  
    • Local dialect-mganga-captures the local linguistic flavor/identifies the ethnic originalityof the poem
    • Repetition-‘He was a good son’ has been repeated-To show how valued/great he was
                        We released him-we gave him out-
    • Direct address-But you’ve brought him back-Immediacy/enhances the interest of the addressee on the subject
    • Rhetorical question-… Or are they tears of regret? - evokes deep thought
    • Alliteration- …you young-enhances memorability/creates rhythm
    • Assonance-we’ll build him-enhances memorability/ creates rhythm
      Any two well-illustrated points, 2 marks each; ident. 1 mark, Illust. 1 mark
  4. Plot approach-It’s about kinsmen/clan members mourning the abuse suffered by their revered Son at the hands of those he went out to serve and their/clan members’ resolve to warmly welcome him back/build him a house at the shore regardless of his  state/condition.

    Thematic approach
    Ungratefulness/ingratitude-a good son labelled mganga/ …mocked a good son
    Change/Transition- ...was once vibrant/full of life /strong but now punctured/weak/tired
                                      He was once eloquent but has a heavy tongue
    Any one well-illustrated point, 3 marks; ident.2 marks, illust. 1 mark
  5. Expresses the high level of disappointment with the condition of their son. Tick 2
  6. Loving- he was a good son/ he’s ours/we’ll build him…
    Sympathetic-But see what you…/That Son you people mocked was a good son
    Any one well-illustrated point, 3 marks; ident.2 marks, illust. 1 mark
  7. To show how revered the son is/ to show that, to them, the son is larger than life.
  8.        
    1. inarticulate/ineloquent…
    2. With nothing/having nothing/unrewarded…
      Correct explanation or synonyms are allowed
      Word class must be considered

QUESTION 3

“The face of hunger.”
I counted ribs on his concertina chest
Bones protruding as if chiseled
By sculptor’s hand of famine.

He looked with glazed pupils
Seeing only a bun on some sky-high shelf.

The skin was pale and taut
Like a glove on a doctor’s hand

His tongue darted in and out
Like a chameleon’s
Snatching a confetti of lies

Oh! Child
Your stomach is a den of lions
Roaring day and night

By Mbuyiseni Mstshali

Questions

  1. Identify the persona in the above poem. (2mks)
  2. What is the poem about? (4mks)
  3. Identify and illustrate instances of imagery in the poem. (4mks)
  4. Using illustration identify the dominant theme in the above poem. (2mks)
  5. What tone do you get in the above poem. (3mks)
  6. Your stomach is a den of lion.(negate the statement.) (1mk)
  7. Give the contextual meaning of the following words and phrase (4mks)
    1. Protruding 
    2. Pale 
    3. Darted 
    4. A den of lions

ANSWERS

  1. The persona. (2mks)
    • An observer of hunger/famine (1mk)
    • Illust: “I counted ribs on his concertina chest” (1mk)
      For definition (1mk)
      For illustration (1mk)
  2. The poem is about someone who has been affected by hunger/famine (1mk) as his body has been emaciated due to starvation (1mk) his eyes are weak (1mk) and his stomach is rumbling because of hunger. (1mk) (4mks)
  3. Metaphor (1mk)
    • Illust: Your stomach is aden of lion. (1mk)
      Smile (1mk)
      Illust: His tongue darted in and out like a chameleon’s bones protruding as if chiseled (1mk) (a mark for identification and a mark for illustration)
  4. Famine (1mk) Hopeless/Disillusionment.
    • Illust: I counted ribs on his concertina chest (1mk (Any theme a ward (1mk) illustration a ward (1mk) )
      (No mark for illustration without identification)
  5. Resigned /Sympathetic – any appropriate illustration. (2mks) (identification of tone (2mks))
  6. Your stomach is not a den of lion (1mk)
  7.  
    1. Protruding – sticking out/ bulging (1mk)
    2. Pale – unhealthy/ feeble (1mk)
    3. Roaring – Rumbling (1mk)

QUESTION 4

His sunken cheeks, his inward-looking eyes,
The sarcastic, soonful smile on his lips
The unkempt, matted grey hair,
Spoke eloquently of the life he had lived
But I did not mour for him.
The hammer, the saw and the plane,
These were his tools and his ointment and his perfume.
He fashioned dining tables, chairs, wardrobes,
And all the wooden loves of colonial life
No, I did not mourn for him.
He built colonial mansions,
Huge, unwieldy, arrogant constructions,
But he squatted in a sickly mud-house,
With his children huddled stuntedly.
Under the bed bug bed he shared with mother
I could not mourn for him.
I had already inherited
His premature old-age look,
I had imbibed his frustration,
But his dream of freedom and happiness
Had become my song, my love,
So I could not mourn for him
No, I did not shed my tears,
My father's dead it still lives in me,
He lives in my son, my father,
I am my father and my son,
I will awaken his sleepy holes and yearnings,
But I will not mourn for him,
I will not mourn for me

  1. Who is the persona in this poem? (2mks)
  2. But I did not could not and will not moun for him. This serves as the clincher of every stanza. Mention four reasons for the persona not mourning his father's death
  3. Mention three spects of stylistic devices used in the poem and explain their effectiveness
  4. State one character trait of the persona.
  5. What is the attitude of the persona towards his father?
  6. My father's dead life still lives in me. Add a question tag?
  7. Paraphrase the following lines.
    I had already inherited
    His premature old-age look
    I had imbibed his frustration
    But his dream of freedom and happiness
    Had become my song, my love
    So, I could not mourn for him.
  8. Explain the meaning of the following lines and words as used in the poem.
    1. The hard course sand-paper hands spoke eloquently of the life he had lived.
    2. His premature old-age look.

ANSWERS

  1. The persona is a son who lost his father - death of my father/my father's dead life
  2.      
    1. the persona is alive. this is assurance of continuitu of the father's life
    2. he will accomplish his father's dream
    3. the persona's presence and life is proof of the father's life in the present time
    4. the persona doesn't want to mourn his father - this shows he refuses to give up
  3.      
    • Irony - the father built colonial mansions yet he died in a mud house on a bed full of bed bugs. this stresses the class disparity/abject poverty level of the father
    • Metaphor - sand paper hands nature of his work had an effect on his body. it was tough work
    • Paradox - my father's dead life lives in me
  4. loving - his dreams had become my love, my song
    Observant - his pre-mature old-age/his sunken cheeks
    Optimistic - i will awake his sleepy hopes
  5. loving attitude - his dreams had become my love, my song
  6. my father's dead life still lives in me - doesn't it?
  7. the persona identified with his father's poverty regardless of his labour that made him look older than his age but he looks forward to live a better life. He resolves to strive to live a better life
  8.      
    1. the rough hands showed he lived a hard life of struggles
    2. he looked older than his actual age/ he looked old yet he was young

QUESTION 5 

TOUCH by Hugh Lewin
When I get out
I’m going to ask someone
Touch me
Very gently please
And slowly,
Touch me
I want
To learn again
How life feels

I’ve not been touched
For seven years
For seven years
I’ve been untouched
Out of touch
And I’ve learnt
To know now
The meaning of
Untouchable.
Untouched – not quite
I can count the things
that have touched me.

One: fists
At the beginning
Fierce mad fists
Beating beating
Till I remember
Screaming
Don’t touch me
Please don’t touch me

Two: paws
The first four years of paws
Every day
Patting paws, searching
Arms up, shoes off
Legs apart-
Prodding paws, systematic
Heavy indifferent
Probing away
all privacy.

I don’t want fists and paws
I want
To want to be touched
Again
And to touch.
I want to feel alive
Again
I want to say
When I get out

Here I am
Please touch me.
(From poets to the people, edit by Barry Feinberg)

Questions

  1. Where do you think the person is? Briefly explain your answer. (3marks)
  2. What do you think the persona means by “touch”? (3marks)
  3. Using two illustrations, describe the persona’s experience during the seven years. (4marks)
  4. What is the significance of the word ‘paws’? (2marks)
  5. Which device does the poet use to reinforce the theme? (2marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following words as used in the poem. (2marks)
    1. Prodding
    2. Indifferent.
  7. How does the poet use contrast to reveal about human need? (4marks)

ANSWERS

  1. The persona is probably in prison/detention or some form of confinement. The person is longing to get out “when I get out…” He /she has been held in inhuman conditions. (3marks
  2. By ‘touch’ he/she means being treated like a human being, loving and being loved. ‘Touch’ means freedom to express his or her emotions freely, spontaneously. ‘touch’ the literal physical touch (3marks)
  3. During the seven years of confinement, the persona has been treated like a pariah. He/she says ‘I have learned the meaning of untouchable’. The persona has also been brutalized. He /she was subjected to violence. ‘Fierce mad fists, beating…’ Finally the persona experienced utmost indignity he /she was humiliated and denied any form of privacy ‘…searching, arms up, shoes off, legs apart… probing away all privacy.’ (4marks)
  4. The word ‘paws’ vividly describes the beastly behavior of the tormentors. Animals like hyenas and lions have paws which they use to tear their prey to pieces. The word reveals the cruelty visited on the persona and the attempts to disfigure and mutilate him/her physically and emotionally. (2marks)
  5. The poet uses repetition to emphasize his message. The word ‘touch’ for example is repeated more than ten times – both to explain the kind of touch that is desirable and that which is resented. Also emphasis through the enumeration and pauses (‘one…two…) (3marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following words as used in the poem. (2marks)
    Prodding - poking/ jabbing
    Indifferent – callous/ inhuman/ beastly
  7. The poem reveals that human beings abhor confinement, brutality and all forms of degrading treatment. On the other hand, people crave for human warmth, affection, privacy and freedom. When one is denied the latter, one in away ‘dies’. The persona says; “I want to feel alive again” (4marks)

QUESTION 6

Bell The Cat
The story of a cat menace to mice
Was told to all mice
To the foolish and the wise

Mice met from all walks
And held investable live-die talks
Searching for life-long answer
To the cat-mouse problem.

What do we do? They asked.
Let’s bride him, some opined
Some will be marked for cat
That others walk in freedom

But no one volunteered
Was freedom worth dying for?
Then let’s bell him;
A round of applause.

The conference assented with toasts and thumb-ups
Then, in an afterthought,
Who’ll string the cat? One asked
Sighs are heaved, stares returned.
Winks flashed, sweats shed, throats cleared.
No –one dared.

The mice fell short of freedom
Cat catches unannounced
One has to bell him-
The question is the answer.
Who will?

Questions

  1. What does the poet say about human behavior using the mice and the cat. (2mks)
  2. Show how the poet develops the conflict in this poem. (4mks)
  3. Identify any three features of style used in this poem and explain their functions. (6mks)
  4. Describe the mood of the poem. (2mks)
  5. Explain the meaning of the following expressions. (4mks)
    1. Menace
    2. opined
    3. assented with toasts and thumbs-up
    4. Sighs are heaved, stares returned.
  6. Briefly explain the relevance of the title. (2mks)

ANSWERS

  1. How human being desire to solve problems but are unwilling to take the initiatives.(2mks)
  2. The conflict is triggered by pain inflicted on the mice by the cat. (1mk) The mice hold a meeting to resolve a long lasting solution (1mk) They come out with suggestions to bribe/bell the cat (1mk)Unfortunately no one volunteers to best it hence conflict is not resolve. (1mk)
  3. (6mks)
    1. personification: Mice met from all walks held inevitable live die talks
      The rats converse like human beings to make the poem vivid and realistic.
    2. Rhetorical questions: What do we do? Who will? Provokes the reader to think about the predict of the mice and the difficult tasks ahead.
    3. Repetition: Mice, freedom, cat stresses on the cat and mice predicament.
    4. Symbolism: mice represent human beings and their desire to solve problems yet none is willing to take the initiatives. (4mks)
  4.      
    1. havoc, danger, threat, nuisance, troublesome
    2. Suggested, expressed an opinion
    3. applauded/praised/welcomed
      altered a relief and gaped at one another
  5. That of hopeless he is/desperation (2mks)
    no one dared….who will
    Fearful, stares retuned… .sweat shed.
  6. The title is relevant because it talks of the predicament the mice had on who would bell the cat, a risk the rat would take for the sake of others.(2mks)

QUESTION 7

My parents

My parents kept me from children who were rough.
Who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes
Their thighs showed through rags. They ran in the streets –
And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams
I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron
Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms.
I feared the salt Coarse pointing of those boys
Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.
They were lithe, the sprang out behind hedges
Like dogs to bark at my world. They threw mud
While I looked the other way, pretending to smile
I longed to forgive them, but they never smiled.

  1. Whom did the speaker’s parents try to protect him from and why? (3mks)
  2. What happens in stanza two? (2mks)
  3. How did the rough children treat the speaker? (2mks)
  4. Describe the attitude of the speaker towards the rough children. (3mks)
  5. Describe the character of the speaker as depicted in the poem. (2mks)
  6. Identify a figure of speech used in the poem. (2mks)
  7. Highlight the irony in the last stanza of the poem. (2mks)
  8. What is the theme of the poem? (2mks)
  9. Give the meaning of the following words as used in the poem. (2mks)
    1. Jerking
    2. Lithe

 ANSWERS

  1. Other children, probably in the neighbourhood,  who were poor and rather ill-mannered.
  2. They forcefully hold down the persona and frighten him.… their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms.
  3. They ridicule the speaker, make fun of his lisp. They frighten him by shouting at him and throwing mud at him.
  4. Fearful – he feared the rough children
    Jerking hands
    Salt coarse pointing
  5. Fearful – of the children who ridicule him, make fun of his lisp, frighten him with their jerking hands,…
  6. Similes - Threw words like stones
    Their muscles like iron
  7. Ironical that the persona is trying to smile even after the ‘naughty’ children have wronged him (they threw mud at him, smiles at them) yet they never smiled back.
  8. Social segregation/ social classes/ discrimination.
    The personas parents kept him/ her from children who were rough and poor- they wore torn clothes, their thighs showed through rags.
  9.  
    1. Jerking – uncontrolled movements
    2. Lithe – easily flexible

QUESTION 8

SYMPTOMS OF LOVE

Love is a universal migraine
A bright stain on the vision

Blotting out reason
Symptoms of true love
Are leanness jealousy
Laggard dawns.

Are omens and nightmares-
Listening for a knock
Waiting for a sign

For a touch of her fingers
In a darkened room
For a searching look.

Take courage lover!
Could you endure such pain
At any hand but hers?
(Literature: reading fiction, poetry and drama McGraw hill, 2000)

  1. Identify the persona in this poem (2marks)
  2. What is the persona’s attitude towards love? Explain your answer (3marks)
  3. Describe the tone of the poem giving evidence to support your answer (4marks)
  4. Identify and illustrate any four fingers of speech used in the poem. Commenton their effectiveness(6marks)
  5. Describe the mood of the poem with illustrations to support your answer (3marks)
  6. Explain the rhetorical question at the end of the poem (2marks)

ANSWERS

  1. The persona in this poem is the poet
    He writes about love from his own stand point   (2mks)
  2. The persona’s attitude toward love is irressistable.
    • He says that it is a powerful force, he also views it as a universal experience that all and  sundry go through at one time or the other (3mks)
  3. The tone of the poem is ridiculous (2mks)
    • The poet wonders at the symptoms of love since not many can reveal them except to their  opposite sex lover.
    • In the last stanza he asks, could you endeavour pain at any hard but hers? (4mks)
  4.  
    1. Simile – love is a bright stain on the vision
    2. Parenthesis – stanza 2, line 1
    3. Rhetorical questions – could you endure such pain at any hand but hers?
    4. paradoxical/contrasting/comparison – stanza 1
      All these figers of speech help the poet to bring out his thought in an artistic way
      (1 mark for identification, 1 mark for illustration)
      (2 marks for effectiveness) (6mks)
  5. The mood of the poem is critical, ridiculous and analytical. The poet looks at the symptoms of true love with critic and wonders at why people do what they do when they are in love (3mks)
  6. The rhetorical questions is “could you endure such pain at any hand but hers? It is used to show that the symptoms of love as shown in the poem are overbearing on the lovers. That it takes pain to love (2mks)

QUESTION 9

THE BREWING NIGHT

It was that memorable night when I heard it

Yes, I heard it all
That night sleep deserted me,
Mocked at me and tantalized me,
So I lay awake, sharp in all my senses.
It was long past midnight:
Time dragged on, the clock chime;
The dog wouldn’t bark, nor the baby cry;
It was a moonless and windless night;
The whole universe seemed to stagnate
In dark, dreary, dead slumber.
What was amiss? I knew not.

The dead quietness and solitude
Seemed to be eternal, but
Waves of babbling and muttering
Began to trickle through the streets;
A distant roaring of heavy trucks filled the air,
Hurried footsteps eroded through the street.
What was a miss? I knew not.

I pulled my curtain
And there I saw it all
Heavy boots thick uniforms and solid helmets
Dimly discernible under the pale street lamp
The atmosphere stood stiff and solid with
Brawny- faced and clenched –teeth determination

The night had pulsed with passion high and wild;
The streets were stained with new portraits framed;
The wheel changed hands and new plans were filed.
The morning saw the country strangely dresses
And everyone attended the rally.
To hear the eloquence from a strange face,
And everyone quietly nodded and said, ‘yes’

(By Yusuf O. Kassam, in Poems from East Africa.)

Questions 

  1. Explain what the poem is about.    (3 mks)
  2. In what ways was the night described in the poem peculiar? (2 mks)
  3. What was a miss? I knew not. (Rewrite as one sentence beginning, I  did……………)    (2 mks)
  4. Paraphrase in one sentence what the persona saw when he or she pulled the curtain to see.     (1 mk)
  5. What is the significance of stanza two? (3 mks)
  6. Identify and explain any one personification in the poem. (2 mks)
  7. Explain in your own words what happens in the last stanza. (5 mks)
  8. Explain the meaning of the title.      (2 mks)

ANSWERS

  1. The poem is about a coup that takes place at night. At the end, it is indicated that he people have to reluctantly accept the change.
  2. The night was silent dark and strange the clock wouldn’t chime
  3. I did not know what was a miss
  4. The persona saw soldiers in heavy boots, thick uniform and solid helmets walking in a determined way along the streets
  5. Stanza two sees the mood of the poem. Things are act happening in the real way and this prepares the stage for what we find in stanza three
  6. The whole universe is personified as "stagnating" is used to create a sense of unease and anticipation in the reader, as if the night itself is an active participant in the events described.
  7. The last stanza gives the preparation for the inauguration of the new leaders. A rally is held where the new leaders give their speeches and the people accept the leaders.
  8. Brewing night refers to the night when something unpleasant, in this case, the coup was hatched up.

QUESTION 10

I can't breathe
I can't breathe
he said to you multiple times for 9 minutes
As his windpipe was crushed
I can't breathe
He said while your knee
Was on his neck
I can't breathe
He had to say
Because of the color of his skin
I can't breathe
He said while thinking about his family
And knowing he might never see then again.
I can't breathe
He said while you watched the life slowly
Fade out of him
I can't breathe
He choked
Coughied on his on blood
I can't breathe
He said
While you wore a smirk on your face
I can't breathe
Now the world is on fire
And it's your fault
I can't breathe
While knowing people like you
Continue to exist

  1. Who is the persona of the poem
  2. What is the poem about. (4marks)
  3. Identify, illustrate and explain effectiveness of two stylistic devices. (6marks)
  4. Comment on the prevailing mood from stanza 1-8 stanza(3marks)
  5. Why is the persona pessimistic in the last stanza (2marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following lines
    While you wore a smirk on your face
    Now the world is on fire

ANSWERS

  1. Who is the persona of the poem (3mks)
    Somebody who observed The persona is an observer or á witness who sees all that happens to a man who is discriminated against because of his race, thus, he is beaten mercilessly to death.
    "I can't breathe
    He said while thinking about his family
    And knowing he might never see them again
  2. What is the poem about. (4mks) must illustrate
    The poem is about racial discrimination where a man is tortured, because of the difference in race and he ends up fearing that he may lose his life before even seeing his family. The man finally dies after being suffocated by the tomentors who crushed his windpipe.
    I can't breathe
    He said while you watched the life slowly
    Fade out of him.
  3. Identify, illustrate and explain effectiveness of two stylistic devices. (6mks)
    1. There is the use of Repetition the phrase I can't breath has been repeated to emphasize on the way the persona pleads with the killers to let him go vulnerability pain
    2. There is the use of Alliteration
      Enhance rhythm musicality He said while you watched the life slowly fade out of him.-It-is-used to show the brutality-of-the-killers.
    3. There is the use of hyperbole / idiomatic expression
      Now the world is on fire
      This shows that the fight between the races has erupted

QUESTION 11

Read the poem below and answer questions that follow:

I AM TIRED OF TALKING IN METAPHORS
I will talk plainly,
Because I am moved to abandon riddles,
I will tell you of how
We held our heads in our hands
Because the owl hooted all night
And the dogs howled as if mourning
We waited the bad news
We received it
Our mother blinded in one eye
Crippled in the right leg
Because she did not vote
For her husband’s candidate

I will remind you
Of when the peeled plantains
Stood upright in the cooking pot
We slaughtered a cock,
Anticipating an important visitor
We got her:
Our daughter – piece of flesh in a sack
Our present from her husband

No! I will not use metaphors
I will just talk to you:
I do not fight to take your place
Or to constantly wave my fist in you face
I refuse to argue about 

Your “manly pact”
with my father
You’ re buying me for a bag of potatoes
And pepper
All I want
Is for you to stop denying me
My presence needs no metaphors

I am here
Just as you are
I am not a machine
To dismantle whenever you whim
I demand my human dignity
Questions

  1. Who is the persona in this poem? (2 mks)
  2. What are the thematic concerns of the poem (4 mks)
  3. Explain the speaker’s attitude towards the subject matter (3 mks)
  4. Give a character trait of the speaker (2 mks)
  5. Discuss two elements of tradition highlighted in the poem (4 mks)
  6. Identity two features of style used in the poem (4 mks)
  7. Our mother blinded in one eye Crippled in the right leg (Join using a conjunction) (1mk)

ANSWERS

  1. A woman√ 1 mk who is violated/oppressed/exploited by men.
    She says she was bought for a bag of potatoes and pepper.
    I am not a machine to dismantle whenever you whim√1 mk
    1 mk for identification
    1 mk for illustration
  2.                      
    1. The poem talks about domestic violence√ 2 mks
      Our mother blinded in one eye√1 crippled in the right leg √1 mk
    2. Oppression/exploitation of women√2 mks
      Your manly pact with my father, you’re buying me, for a bag of potatoes and pepper.√1 mk
      …………….stop denying me√1 mk
      (main point = 2mks)
      (2 illustrations each 1 mk)
  3. An attitude of bitterness/anger/displeasure√(2 mks)
    She is lamenting on violence and death inflicted on women by their husbands√ (1 mk)
    She feels it is unfair for men to mistreat men.
    (2 marks for attitude)
    (1 mark for illustration)
  4. Assertive √ (1 mk) – is not ready to be mistreated.
    “I am not a machine to dismantle whenever you wish.”√ 1 mk)
    Or
    Superstitious √(1mk) – participated in the slaughter of the cock, when peeled plantains stood upright in the cooking pot. √ (1 mk)
    When the dogs hassled as if mourning, awaited bad news√ (1 mk)
    1 mk – identification
    1 mk – illustration
  5.                    
    1. Superstition – The speaker says when the owl hooted, the dog howled, they expected bad news√ 1mk
    2. Payment of bride price√1mk – Girls bought for pepper and a bag of potatoes.
  6. features of style
    1. Repetition √1 mk – I will…..√1 mk
    2. Sarcasm√ 1 mk – she says the pieces √ 1 mk) of flesh which was their daughter were our present from her husband.
    3. Metaphor (√) 1 mk – I am not a machine √ (1 mk)
      1 mk – identification
      1 mk – illustration
  7. Our mother blinded in one eye and crippled in the right leg. (1 mk)

QUESTION 12

Read the poem below then answer the questions after.

To a Daughter Leaving Home

when l taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
Path of the park,
l kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as l
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye

Linda Pastan.

QUESTIONS

  1. Who is the persona in the poem? (2mks)
  2. What is the subject matter of the poem? (3mks)
  3. Identify and explain two features of style used in the poem (6mks)
  4. What is the persona’s attitude towards the daughter? (3mks)
  5. Describe one theme brought out in the poem (3mks)
  6. Identify any one onomatopoeic word in the poem (1mk)
  7. Give the meaning of these words as used in the poem:
    1. Loping ------------
    2. wobbled ----------
    3. Sprinted ----------

ANSWERS

  1.  A mother/Father/ A close relative/ A guardian/Parent
    'To a daughter'
  2. It is about a parent/ guardian looking back to the time when the daughter is learning to ride a bicycle.
    'When I taught....ride'
  3.        
    • Repetition 'pumping pumping'
      Helps reiforce the idea that the daughter is forging ahead with intense energy.
    • Simile - Flapping behing you live a handkerchief waving goodbye.
      Her riding speed was high despite being a beginner.
    • Metaphor - The bicycle lesson is metaphorical for life's journey and is extended throughout the poem. Shows that the daughter picker the lessons taught well and at the porper face.
  4. Fearful/Doubtful - 'I kept waiting for the thud of you crash...'
  5. Motherhood/ Role of parents
    • It explores the journey of a mother training her daughter on riding a bicycle
    • Parents play a crucial role in guiding children through life.
  6.   
    loping  curved  crash  flapping 
     wobbled screaming  sprinted  waving 
     rounding thud  pumping   
  7.   
    1. Loping - hurring
    2. wobbled - trembled
    3. Sprinted - jumped/ hurried

QUESTION 13

Read the poem below and then answer the questions that follow. (20marks)

No coffin, No grave by Jared Angira

He was buried without a coffin
Without a grave
The scavengers performed the post-mortem
In the open mortuary
Without sterilized knives
In front of the night club

Stuttering rifle put up
The gun salute of the day
That was a state burial anyway
The car knelt
The rad plate wept, wrapped itself in blood its
Master’s

The diary revealed to the sea
The rain anchored there at last
Isn’t our flag red, black and white?
So he wrapped himself well

Who could signal yellow
When we had to leave politics to the experts
And brood on books
Brood on hunger
And school girls
Grumble under the black pot
Sleep under torn mosquito net
And let lice lick our intestines
The Lord of bar, money speaks madam
Woman magnet, money speaks madam
We only cover the stinking darkness of the cave of our mouths
And ask our father who is in hell to judge him
The quick and the good.

Well, his diary, submarine of the third world
War
Showed he wished
To be buried in a golden-laden coffin
Like a VIP
Under the Jacaranda tree beside his palace
A shelter for his grave
And much beer for the funeral party

Anyway one noisy pupil suggest we bring
Tractors and plough the land.

QUESTIONS;    

  1. Who is being referred as “we” in the 4th  stanza?                                            (1mark)                                                     
  2. Briefly explain what this poem is about.        (3marks)                                                                                                                  
  3. Comment on the use of two stylistic devices in the above poem.              (6marks)                                                   
  4. Explain the tone of the poem. (2marks)                                                         
  5. What is the attitude of the persona toward his or her subject?                  (2marks)                                                                     
  6. In your own words, suggest ways people can changes in the society without assassinating politicians.                        (2marks)       
  7. Explain the following lines    (2marks)
    1. Who could signal yellow………………………………………………………………………………………………………            
    2. Submarine of the Third World
      War……………………………………………………………………………………...   
  8. Explain the meaning of the following words as used the poem.(2marks)
    1. Anchored…………………………………………………………………..
    2. Brood………………………………………………………………………..

QUESTION 14

Read the poem bellow and then answer the questions that follow. 20 MARKS

My grandmother

She kept an antique shop – or it kept her.
Among Apostle spoons and Bristol glasses,
The faded silks, the heavy furniture,
She watched her own reflection in the brass
Salvers and silver bowls, as if to prove
Polish was all, there was no need for love.

And I remember how I once refused
To go out with her, since I was afraid.
It was perhaps a wish not to be used
Like antique objects. Though she never said
That she was hurt, I still could feel the guilt
Of that refusal, guessing how she felt.

Later, too frail to keep a shop, she put
All her best things in one long, narrow room.
The place smelt old, of things too long kept shut,
The smell of absences where shadows come
That can’t be polished. There was nothing then
To give her own reflection back again.

And when she died I felt no grief at all,
Only the guilt of what I once refused.
I walked into her room among the tall
Sideboards and cupboards – things she never used
But needed: and no finger-marks were there,
Only the new dust falling through the air. 
- Elizabeth Jennings 

  1. Identify the persona in the above poem. (2 marks)
  2. In note form, summarize what each stanza is talking about. (4 marks)
  3. Identify and briefly explain the use of any two images in the poem.(4 marks)
  4. What does the persona feel towards the grandmother? (2 marks)
  5. What do the following lines mean in the poem? (2 marks) 
    1. “too frail to keep a shop”
    2. Only the new dust falling through the air”
  6. Describe the tone the persona uses in the second stanza  (2 marks)
  7. Explain the paradox in the line: (2 marks)
    things she never used
    But needed:
  8. Explain the persona’s sense of guilt. (2 marks)

ANSWERS

  1. The persona is a grandchild “My grandmother” (2 mks)
  2.         
    • Stanza 1: describes her grandmother (1x4 mks)
    • Stanza 2: describes the incident which causes guilt
    • Stanza 3: shows her grandmother in retirement
    • Stanza 4: after her grandmother has died, the persona reflects on her grandmother’s life and her own memories
  3. Simile  - “like antique objects” to show persona’s objection to the way she was treated by the grandmother (2 mks)
    Metaphor – “the smells of absences; the place smelt old” (2 mks)
  4. The persona feels indifferent towards her grandmother. “and when she died I felt no grief at all” (2 mks)
  5. Symbolic of her death and absence. (2 mks)
  6. The persona uses a regretful tone. “I still could feel the guilt …Of that refusal, guessing how she felt” (2 mks)
  7. It means that the grandmother was attached to the things she had but she really didn’t use them. They did not have any value to her apart from being attached to them. (2 mks)
  8. The persona feels guilty for having failed to accompany his/her grandmother out, because he/she didn’t want to be used as one of the antique item. (2 mks)

QUESTION 15

Read the poem below and then answer the questions that follow.

HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace
I love thee to the level of everyday
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with I seemed to lose
I love thee saints – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about. (4mks)
  2. Who is the persona in this poem? Give a reason. (2mks)
  3. Comment on the use of three figures of speech in the poem. (6mks)
  4. What is the persona’s attitude toward the object of love? (2mks)
  5. Identify and illustrate one character trait of the persona brought out in the poem. (2mks)
  6. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem.
    1. I love thee to the level of everyday (1mk)
      Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
    2. With my childhood faith; (1mk)
    3. I shall but love thee better after death. (2mks)

ANSWERS

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about? (4mks)
    • The poem is about love. The persona expresses his love towards the object of his love by saying: I love thee and goes on to count the ways to the depth and breadth and height. Soul can reach. Love thee freely. Love thee with passion
      (Accept any other illustration of love from the poem)
  2. Who is the persona in this poem? Give a reason. (2mks)
    • Lover/a person who is completely in love with another. This is illustrated in various words such as; love thee to the depth, breath, and height any soul can reach.
  3. Comment on the use of three figures of speech in the poem. (6mks)
    1. Hyperbole – The love for the ends of Being and ideal Grace is an exaggeration of the deep love the speaker expresses. It shows the love is what sustains the speaker.
    2. Simile – I love thee freely, as men strive for right . This means his/her love is not limited by anything and is pure as praise; There is no hidden motive at all
    3. Metaphor – The sun and candle light. This means the love is present both day and night.
      (Accept any two (2x3) = 6. Award mark for identifications, 1 mark for illustration and 1 mark for the explanation.
  4. What is the persona‟s attitude toward the object of love? (2mks)
    • Admiration/loving – The persona cherishes the object of love by using words “I love the with breath, smiles and tears of all my life.
  5. Identify and illustrate one character trait of the persona brought out in the poem. (2mks)
    • Expressive – The persona expresses his love explicitly
    • Romantic – The persona say “I love thee with passion
      (Identification and illustration )
  6. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem.
    1. I love thee to the level of everyday (1mk)
      Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
      • The love is constant whether in hardship or good time.
    2. With my childhood faith; (1mk)
      • The love is as pure and trusting as that expected by a child towards someone / it has no hidden motives
    3. I shall but love thee better after death. (2mks)
      • The speaker feels that the love will have no end since after death there is a belief that things get better he/she will love completely without challenges

QUESTION 16

Read the following poem and answer the questions that follow.

WHEN I WAS ONE – AND – TWENTY

When I was one – and- twenty
I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free”
But I was one – and- twenty,
No use to talk to me
When I was one- and- twenty
I heard him say again’
“The heart out of the bossom
Was never given in vain;
“Tis paid with sighs a – plenty
And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two – and – twenty,
And oh, ‘tis true, tis true.
(A.E Housman)

  1. Who is the speaker in this poem? ( 3 marks)
  2. What advise does the wise man give to the speaker? Does the speaker follow the advice? Explain. ( 3 marks)
  3. How much time has passed between the first and second stanza? Explain ( 2 marks)
  4. Identify and illustrate the features of style used in the poem. What does the poet achieve by using them? ( 6 marks)
  5. Explain the meaning of the following lines. ( 2 marks)
    But I was one and twenty
    No use to talk to me
  6. Describe the tone of the poem. ( 2 marks)
  7. Rewrite the following lines in your own words: ( 2 marks)
    Tis paid with sings a – plenty
    And sold for endless rue

ANSWERS

  1. a twenty two year old who has learnt the hard way that falling and being in love comes at a price/cost
  2. The Wiseman advises that one can afford to give away material things such as money but not surrender their hearts to other people as one could get emotionally hurt. The speaker ignored this advice at twenty one and one year later realizes the wise man was right
  3. One year√ 1 And now am two – and - twenty√
  4. Metaphor – Pearls/Rubies-material things that humans value highly.
    Alliteration – Fancy Free adds to the meaning i.e your freedom
    Repetition – Tis true Tis true-just confirms/reaffirms that the old man was right.
    Non Standard English -Tis true Tis true.
  5. But I was one and twenty
    No use to talk to me
    At twenty one I thought I knew it all and was unwilling to listen.
  6. The tone is one of regret or remorse √ 1The poet has realized the folly of ignoring sound advice and regrets this 
  7. Tis paid with sings a – plenty
    And sold for endless rue
    When you ignore advice you pay dearly, you expose yourself to pay and regret.

QUESTION 17

WHAT’S IMPORTANT IN LIFE?
The Years have passed by,
In the blink of an eye,
Moments of sadness,
And joy have flown by.

People I loved,
Have come and have gone,
But the world never stopped,
And we all carried on.

Life wasn't easy,
And the struggles were there,
Filled with times that it mattered,
Times I just didn't care.

I stood on my own,
And I still found my way,
Through some nights filled with tears,
And the dawn of new days.

And now with old age,
It's become very clear,
Things I once found important,
Were not why I was here.

And how many things,
That I managed to buy,
Were never what made me,
Feel better inside.

And the worries and fears,
That plagued me each day,
In the end of it all,
Would just fade away.

But how much I reached out,
To others when needed,
Would be the true measure,
Of how I succeeded.

And how much I shared,
Of my soul and my heart,
Would ultimately be,
What set me apart.

And what's really important
Is my opinion of me,
And whether or not,
I'm the best I can be.

And how much more kindness,
And love I can show,
Before the Lord tells me,
It's my time to go.
By Pat Fleming

  1. Who is the persona in the poem above? ( 2 marks)
  2. What subject matter is addressed in the poem? ( 3 marks)
  3. Give evidence from the poem suggesting that time has elapsed so quickly. ( 3 marks)
  4. Paraphrase verse 6 of the poem. ( 2 marks)
  5. Describe the attitude of the persona toward the subject matter. ( 3 marks)
  6. Identify and explain the stylistic device employed in the last verse of the poem. ( 2 marks)
  7. With old age, it’s become very clear. Rewrite ending with: old age) (1 mark)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following as used in the poem. ( 4 marks)
    1. Plagued
    2. I stood on my own, through some nights filled with tears
    3. True measure

ANSWERS

  1. Who is the persona in the poem above? ( 2 marks)
    • An old person who has gone through a different stages of life and wonders whether her life’s experiences were fulfilling “……with old age…..’’, “ ..I’m the best I can be”
  2. What subject matter is addressed in the poem? ( 3 marks)
    • Life contentment. The persona has gone through struggles (vs3) but with old age he has become wiser and living a fulfilled life.
  3. Give evidence from the poem suggesting that time has elapsed so quickly. ( 3 marks)
    • Years have passed by
    • In the blink of an eye
    • People I lived with have come and gone
  4. Paraphrase verse 6 of the poem. ( 2 marks)
    • The financial status of the persona determining what she was able to acquire is not what defined the persona’s character.
      (NB must be in present tense)
  5. Describe the attitude of the persona toward the subject matter. ( 3 marks)
    • He has critical/ analytic attitude towards the subject matter. He interrogates how he has loved the different stages of life till he has become old. “And what’s really important.” (vs10)
  6. Identify and explain the stylistic device employed in the last verse of the poem. ( 2 marks)
    • Euphemism – it’s my time to go meaning it’s my time to die
  7. With old age, it’s become very clear. Rewrite ending with: old age) (1 mark)
    • It’s become very clear with old age. (No comma)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following as used in the poem.
    • Plagued -  troubled 1mk
    • I stood on my own, through some nights filled with tears - Independent
    • True measure - real yardstick

QUESTION 18

Read the poem below and answer the questions below.

WEDDING EVE

Should I
Or should I not
Take the oath to love
Forever
This person I know little about?
Does she love me
Or my car
Or my future
Which I know little about?

Will she continue to love me?
When the future she saw in me
Crumbles and fades into nothing
Leaving the naked me
To love without hope?

Will that smile she wears
Last through the hazards to come
When fate strikes
Across the dreams of tomorrow?

Or will she
Like the clever passenger in a faulty plane
Wear her life jacket
And jump out to save her life
Leaving me to crash into the unknown

What magic can I use
To see what lies beneath
Her angel face and well-knit hair
To see her hopes and dreams
Before I take the oath
To love forever?

We are both wise chess players
She makes a move
I make a move
And we trap each other in our secret dreams
Hoping to win against each other

Questions

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about (3 marks)
  2. Identify and describe the persona in the poem (2 marks)
  3. Highlight three features of style used in the poem and show their effectiveness (6 marks)
  4. Describe the attitude of the persona towards the 'she' in the poem (3 marks)
  5. Comment on the tone of the persona (2 marks)
  6. We are both wise chess players. Add a question tag (1 mark)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem (3 marks)
    1. Will that smile she wears last through the hazards to come
    2. Leaving the naked me
    3. the clever passenger in a faulty plane...

ANSWERS

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about (3 marks)
    The poem is about a groom who expresses his fears about marriage and the uncertainty with which he finds himself about the woman he is about to marry. He is not sure of her love for him or if it is his possession she loves like his car. (Must illustrate)
  2. Identify and describe the persona in the poem (2 marks)
    The persona is a groom who is about to marry. He is doubtful/uncertain.✔1 He is in a dilemma on whether to take the action or not owing to the fact that he knows little about the bride...✔1 should I or should I not take the oath to love...
  3. Highlight three features of style used in the poem and show their effectiveness (6 marks)
    Rhetoric question: should I or should I not
    • He is in a dilemma on whether to take action or not. It shows the indecisiveness of the persona
      Metaphor: her angel face.
    • It shows that she is beautiful and innocent
      Symbolism: we are both wise chess players....
    • Shows that each has to act wisely, measure their action and words
      Similes: or she like a clever passenger... shows the passenger is doubtful of being left in times of danger or trouble
      (Any 3. identification 1mark, illustration 1mark, effectiveness 1 mark)
  4. Describe the attitude of the persona (3 marks)
    • The persona is apprehensive/doubtful ✔1. He is doubtful of the imaginary unpleasant outcome of marriage.
    • The persona is fearful of the unknown in marriage.
  5. Comment on the tone of the poem (2 marks)
    • Worried/anxious; the persona is not sure of the action to take and the possible outcome. He is not sure of how his partner will behave later in life... will that smile she wears last...
  6. We are both wise chess players. Add a question tag (1 mark)
    • Must rewrite the question.
    • We are both wise chess players, aren't we?
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem (3 marks)
    1. Will that smile she wears last through the hazards to come
      • He wonders if the woman he loves will continue to smile or love him even during difficult times in marriage
    2. Leaving the naked me
      • He fears he will be left exposed or lonely with nothing if anything happens and the marriage does not work
    3. ....clever passenger in a faulty plane...
      • He fears that the bride may choose to make the easier option of leaving him if the marriage does not work.

QUESTION 19

Read the poem below and answer the questions that follow. (20 marks)

Pledging My Soul
When I was a boy
I climbed onto your granite breasts
smooth and round
I trailed my body
from the small of your back
to your yielding neck
the cup of your breasts
was my pillow
the rivers of your tears
drowned me down in your depths
and the smooth plain of your flat belly
yielded to mine
I was yours
and your were mine
Now a man
in exile from the warmth of your arms
and the milk of your teeth
the breath of your secret whispers in my ears
Shall I not stride back to you with haste
rout all my enemies and bind the wicked husbandmen
to rise naked before you-a bowl of incense?
and the smoke of my nakedness shall be
an offering to you pledging my soul
Charles Marechera (Zimbabwe)

  1. Identify the persona in the poem. (2 marks)
  2. What is the poem about?(4 marks)
  3. Explain the use of two poetic devices in the poem. (4 marks)
  4. Comment on the prevailing mood in the first stanza. (3 marks)
  5. How does the persona's life as a man differ from his life as a boy? (4 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem.(3 marks)
    1. I was yours
      and you were mine
    2. Now a man
      in exile from the warmth of your arms
    3. rout all my enemies and bind the wicked husbandmen

ANSWERS

  1. A man in exile/deprived of mother's love. Now a man in exile
  2. The poem is about a man's love for his mother/native country. He misses the love comfort he used to enjoy as a boy which has been replaced with hatred/coldness. He pleads with the mother country to restore the lost love/warmth.
  3.      
    • Metaphor-Granite breasts(firm breasts)
      (Extended) Metaphor- Female body-describes the native country which expressed love for the persona (though this love is lost, he pleads for its restoration)
    • Alliteration-When I was, ...your yielding.... not kneel,...(enhances memorability)
    • Rhetorical question-... to rise naked before you a bowl of incense? ( to emphasize how much he needs the restoration of lost love) 
    • Assonance. I climbed onto your granite breasts (enhances memorability)
    • Rhyme-back-kneck (enhances memorability)
    • Exaggeration/hyperbole/overstatement the rivers of your tears, I climbed onto your granite breasts
  4. Nostalgic-The persona longs for the love/warmth he used to enjoy as a boy.
  5.      
    • As a boy, he was loved (I was yours and you were mine) while as a man, he is hated
      Now a man in exile from the warmth of your arms)
    • As a boy, he had a sense of belonging (I climbed onto your granite breasts...), while as a man, he feels unwanted/exiled (Now a man in exile from the warmth of your arms)
    • As a boy, he felt protected (...drowned me down in your depths); while as a man, be feels unprotected(rout all my enemies...)
  6.      
    1. We loved each other
    2. Currently a man deprived of your love/affection/warmth Samsung Triple camera
    3. Defeat all those against the country's progress/prosperity

QUESTION 20

MY FATHER BEGAN AS A GOD
My father began as a god,
full of heroic tales
of days when he was young.
His laws were as immutable
as if brought down from Sinai,
which indeed he thought they were.

He fearlessly lifted me to heaven
by a mere swing to his shoulder,
and made me a godling
by seating me astride
our milch-cow's back, and, too
upon the great white gobbler
of which others went in constant fear.

Strange then how he shrank and shrank
until by my time of adolescence
he had become a foolish small old man
with silly and outmoded views
of life and of morality.

Stranger still
that as I became older
his faults and his intolerances
scaled away into the past,
revealing virtues
such as honesty, generosity, integrity.

Strangest of all
how the deeper he recedes into the grave
the more I see myself
as just one more of all the little men
who creep through life
no knee-high to this long-dead god.
(By Ian Mudie)

  1. Who is the persona in the poem? 2mks
  2. What is the poem about? 4mks
  3. Comment on the suitability of the title of the poem. 2mks
  4. What is the attitude of the persona towards his father? 3mks
  5. Identify any three stylistic devices used in the poem. 6mks
  6. Why do you think the persona feels that his father has shrunk? 2mks
  7. Give the antonym of the word recedes as used in the poem. 1mk

ANSWERS

  1. Who is the persona in the poem? 2mks
    • A child. √1 The child says that the father began as a god. √1
  2. What is the poem about? 4mks
    • The poem is about a child√1 who has a lot of respect for the father as a child, √1 but as he grows up he begins doubting and despising his father especially when he reaches adolescence stage. √1 At this time, he feels that he knows more than the father. However, when he is older he realizes that his father was right and giving important lessons. √1
  3. Comment on the suitability of the title of the poem. 2mks
    • The title is suitable. When the child is young, he sees his father as a god – a mighty, superior person. Then as time goes on he is no longer a god to him but a foolish old man. √2
  4. What is the attitude of the persona towards his father? 3mks
    • Admiring/ respectful√2 – at a young age he is full of admiration for the father and sees him as a god. “He fearlessly lifted me to heaven by a mere swing to his shoulder” √1
    • Despising/disrespectful √2– as an adolescent, the child begins to despise the father. “until by my time of adolescence he had become a foolish small old man with silly and outmoded views of life and of morality.” √1
  5. Identify any three stylistic devices used in the poem. 6mks
    • symbolism√1 – ‘god’ is used to symbolize might√1
    • Simile√1 – as immutable as if brought from Sinai√1
    • Hyperbole/exaggeration√1 – he fearlessly lifted me to heaven√1
    • Repetition√1 - he shrank and shrank√1
    • strange is repeated in its various degrees
    • Metaphor√1 – “made me a godling” – the child felt important when lifted up
    • “is just one more of the little men” – he no longer feels superior but just like everyone else. √1
    • Any 3 well illustrated points
  6. Why do you think the persona feels that his father has shrunk? 2mks
    • The persona has grown taller and can no longer be carried shoulder high. √1 His father who is no longer growing , appears to be shrinking instead. √1
  7. Give the antonym of the word recedes as used in the poem. 1mk
    • appears√1

QUESTION 21

LAMENT
For the green turtle with her pulsing burden,
in search of the breeding ground,
For her eggs laid in their nest of sickness.

For the cormorant in his funeral silk.
the veil of iridescence on the sand,
the shadow on the sea.

For the ocean’s lap with its mortal stain.
For Ahmed at the closed border.
For the soldier in his uniform of fire

For the gunsmith and the armourer,
the boy fusilier who joined for the Company,
The farmer’s sons, in it for the music, 

For the hook-beaked turtles,
the dugong and the dolphin,
the whale strock dumb by the missile’s thunder.

For the tern, the gull and the restless wader,
the long migrations and the slow dying,
the veiled sun and the stink of anger.

For the burnt earth and the sun put out.
the scalded ocean and the blazing well.
For vengeance, and the ashes of language. Gillian Clarke
QUESTIONS

  1. Explain the relevance of the title of this poem. (3 marks)
  2. Explain what this poem is about. (4 marks)
  3. Identify and illustrate any two different figures of speech used by the poet. (4 marks)
  4. Giving clear illustrations, identify the tone of this poem. (3 marks)
  5. What is the mood of the poem? (3 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following words in the context of the poem. (3marks)
    1. Pulsing
    2. Scalded
    3. Put out

ANSWERS

  1. The title is relevant since the persona is complaining the ocean has been covered with the blood of the dead the aquatic animals are negatively affected refugees are suffering
    Identification of complaint
    Any 2 proofs of lamentation (2 x1 marks)
  2. It’s about destruction of the environment by pollution on water masses which makes aquatic animals live miserably It’s also about war which has led to a lot of destruction, sadness and death
  3. Metaphor: Uniform of fire
    Nest of sickness
    Mortal stain
    Personification: Green turtle with her pulsing burden
    Hyperbole: Blazing well
    The burnt earth
    The scalded Ocean
    (N/B: No mark for identification without illustration)
  4. Desperate tone; The turtle is searching for a breeding ground, eggs are laid to their nest of sickness
    (Identification 2 illustration 1)
  5. Mood of sadness/ sorrow/ melancholy or sad/ sorrowful/melancholic mood Birds are dying, the ocean is covered with blood of the dead
    (Identification 2 illustration 1)
  6. Pulsing: Strong regular movements/ throbbing/vibrating
    Scalded: burnt /scorched
    Put out: Extinguished/Quench

QUESTION 22

NATURALLY
I fear the workers: they writhe in bristling grass
And wormy mud: out with dawn, back with dusk
Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit
And I eat the fruit

And still they toil: at boiling point
In head-splitting noise and threatening saws
They suck their energy from slimy cassava
And age-rusty taps: till they make a Benz

And I ride in the Benz: festooned
With striped rags and python copper coiling monsters
While the workers clap their blistered hands
And I overrun their kids

They build their hives: often out
Of the broken bones of their mates:
And I drone in them – ‘state-house’
Them, ‘collegize’ them, ‘officialize’ them

And I . . . I whore their daughters
Raised in litter-rotting hovels
And desiring a quickquick highhigh life
To break the bond

And I tell the workers to unite
Knowing well they can’t see hear or understand:
What with sweat and grime sealing their ears
And eyes already blasted with wielding sparks
And me speaking a colourless tongue

But one day a rainstorm shall flood
The litter-rotten hovels
And wash the workers’ eyes clean
Refresh the tattered muscles for a long-delayed
Blow
(By Austin Bukenya in An Introduction to East African poetry)

  1. Who is the persona in the above poem? (2 marks)
  2. What is the poem about? (3 marks)
  3. Identify and comment on any two stylistic devices used in this poem. (4 marks)
  4. Describe the tone of the poem. (2 marks)
  5. Identify one character trait of the persona as shown in the poem. (2 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (4 marks)
    1. Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit
      And I eat the fruit
    2. But one day a rainstorm shall flood
      The litter-rotten hovel
      And wash the workers’ eyes clean
      Refresh the tattered muscles for a long-delayed
      Blow
  7. Identify two instances in the poem which describe the workers living in deplorable conditions. (2 marks)
  8. Comment on the use of coordinating conjunction “And” in this poem. (1 mark)

ANSWERS

  1. Who is the persona in the above poem?    (2 marks)
    The persona is a trade union leader, a government official or an employer who exploits his or subjects but benefit from their sweat. “Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit/And I eat the fruit.”
  2. What is the poem about?    (3 marks)
    The poem is about the exploitation of workers by their employers or their leaders. The leader does not work with the labourers but benefit from their sweat. He or she does not care about them as he overruns their children and whores their daughters. Finally, he does not make effort to communicate at their level of understanding.
  3. Identify and comment on any two stylistic devices used in this poem.    (4 marks)
    There is use of metaphor, “seed” has been used metaphorically for the input, work or the efforts of the labourers while “fruit” meaning product or the result of the workers efforts. This depicts the hard working nature of the workers and how they are subjected to exploitation by their leaders.
    There is use of Irony. It is ironical for the leader to benefit from the fruit of the workers’ labour yet he was not involved in the process. “They suck their energy from slimy cassava/ And age-rusty taps: till they make a Benz/And I ride in the Benz”
  4. Describe the tone of the poem.    (2 marks)
    The tone is hypocritical. If the persona truly “feared” the workers, he wouldn’t engage in such forms of exploitation. He also asks the workers to unite yet he does not communicate to them at their level of understanding. “And I tell the workers to unite/ Knowing well they can’t see, hear or understand.”
  5. The character  trait of the persona as shown in the poem   (2 marks)
    • Exploitative – “…collegize them officialize them” “And I…I whore their daughters”
    • Opportunistic - “And I eat the fruits” “And I ride in the Benz”
    • Hypocritical – “And I tell the workers to unite”
    • Inhuman/Cruel/Insensitive – “I overrun their kids” (Any one well illustrated trait)
      The dominant theme in the poem is exploitation of workers. This is because the leaders subject the workers to harsh conditions at work and instead of the workers benefiting, it is the leaders who enjoy what they did not work for. “Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit/ And I eat the fruit.”
  6. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem.    (4 marks)
    1. Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit
      And I eat the fruit
      It explains the efforts of the labourers and the result of their hard work which later benefits the leaders who did not take part in the process of realizing the result. This emphasizes the extent of exploitation meted at the workers.
    2. But one day a rainstorm shall flood
      The litter-rotten hovels
      And wash the workers’ eyes clean
      Refresh the tattered muscles for a long-delayed
      Blow
      It speaks of hope; the workers will rise up and change their condition
  7. Identify two instances in the poem which describe the workers living in deplorable conditions. (2 marks)
    • They work in scorching sun “And still they toil: at boiling point”,
    • There is noise pollution “In head-splitting noise”
    • Death “threatening saws”
    • they do not feed well “They suck their energy from slimy cassava”
    • They drink dirty water “And age-rusty taps” (Any two)
  8. Comment on the use of coordinating conjunction “And” in this poem.     (1 mark)
    It gives additional details of the suffering/ exploitation of the workers.

QUESTION 23

You are now one of us
Yes, one of us.
If you ever reveal,
Become as grey as ash.
You have become my brother/sister,
Yes, you have.
If you ever reveal,
Become as grey as ash
You have become one of us,
Yes, one of us.
If you ever reveal
Become as grey as ash.
You have become my son/daughter.
Yes, my son/daughter.
If you ever reveal,
Become as grey as ash.
My real son/daughter,
Yes, my real son/daughter.
If you ever reveal
Become as grey as ash.
We have initiated you.
Yes, we have.
If you ever reveal,
Become as grey as ash.
You are now grown up, yes, grown up.
If you ever reveal,
Become as grey as ash,
You have become one of us,
Yes, one of us.
If you ever reveal our secrets,
Our secrets, our secrets,
Become as grey as ash.
WE HAVE INITIATED YOU.

Questions.

  1. Classify the song above. (1mk)
  2. Identify and illustrate any two styles used in the song. (4mks)
  3. State four functions of the above song. (2mks)
  4. Explain the meaning of the following words (3mks)
    1. Initiation
    2. Reveal
    3. Grown up
  5. When is the song sung and why (2mks)
  6. What are the two effects of repetition in a song? (2mks)
  7. Name any four other genres of oral literature. (2mks)
  8. How will you perform the last line of the song? (2mks)
  9. What is oral literature? (2mks)

ANSWERS

  1. Circumcision song (1)
  2. Repetition – because as grey as ash
    • Simile – as grey as ash (4mks)
  3. Gives the initiate courage
    • Celebrates his life to manhood
    • Binds the initiated together
    • Entertains the initiated
  4. Initiation – circumcision
    • Reveal – to tell some secret
    • Grown up – from childhood to manhood/adulthood
    • A circumcised person (3mks)
  5. This song is sung before circumcisions
    • The initiate is sworn an oath during the song to bind him never to reveal the secrets, the words “to become as grey as ash”. (2mks)
  6. Creates the rhythm.
    • Creates emphasis (2mks)
  7.                    
    • Narratives
    • Riddles
    • Proverbs
    • Oral poems
    • Tongue twister (any 4=2mks)
  8.                                  
    1. Use a finger to emphasis
    2. Eyes wide open to show seriousness.
    3. Raised intonation to show warning. (2mks)
  9. Oral literature is a spoken, acted (performed) art whose media like that of written literature is words. (2mks)
    1.                          
      1. But for john’s quick intervention, the situation would have worsened
      2. Should he arrive on time, we will leave for the party.
      3. So weak was Ben that he could not stand for the rest of the presentation.
      4. A sad song was sung by the mourners. Or a sad song did the mourners sing.
    2.                              
      1. Alter
      2. Lose
      3. Hung
      4. Little
    3.                      
      1. with the knowledge of
      2. Get to the root cause of something
    4.                            
      1. Over
      2. For
      3. In
    5. Do I?

QUESTION 24

THE CROP THIEVES
Tswiris! tswiri! I the person I suspect?
What have you heard that makes you suspicious?
I heard things said, rumors of weaver birds;
They ate corns in Lesiba’s field and finished it
And when they left they sounded hummmm-
They said, ‘listen to the numerous weaver birds
Children of the horse that ate the courtyards and the times
It is the numerous weaver birds
The grey ones that go about in swarms
Children with the little red beaks
Children that make a noise in the mimosa trees
Tupu-tupu! The smoke comes out while the dew still glitters

Howaaa! Sweaaa! –is heard in the early morning
They are finishing the corn, the numerous weaver bird
Children with withered beaks
At home, it is yo! Yo!
Then children are crying
Their mothers have gone to the fields to the birds
It is the Zulus that have entered the country
Take axes and loop the tree branches
Yo! This year we shall eat fire
We shall lack even a blue tongued goat!
It is numerous weaver birds; the grey ones
That go about in swarms.

QUESTIONS.

  1. What kind of oral poem is this? 2mks
  2. Explain two functions of the oral poem. 2mks
  3. Identify and illustrate two oral features of the poem 4mks
  4. What does the poem tell us about the character trait of the weaver bird 2mks
  5. Which lines show that the people will keep on suffering if they do not keep the birds away 2mks
  6. Identify and illustrate two economic activities practiced in this community 4mks
  7. What is the attitude of the singer towards the weaver bird? 2mks
  8. Explain the meaning of the following lines. 2mks
    1. We shall lack even a blue tongued goat.
    2. It is the Zulus that have entered the country.

ANSWERS

  1. A work song (1mk)-the mothers have gone to the fields to chase away the birds (1mk)
  2.                              
    • It encourages people to work
    • It mocks the lazy ones in the society
    • It extols good virtues of hard work
  3.                                        
    • Idiophones-tswiri tswiri aaaa!yo!yo!yo!
    • Direct address-They said ‘listen to the numerous we have birds, sons of Mosima’s family
    • Direct translation-I heard things said rumors of weaverbirds
    • Repetition-children of the house
  4. Destructive-they eat the corned in the fields. They are finishing the corns
  5. Yo!This year we shall eat fire. We shall lack even a blue tongued goat
  6. There is farming
    Iron smelting/black smithing, take axes
  7. Hatred/disappointment.
  8.                          
    1. They will not have food if the weaver bird keep on invading their cornfield
    2. The weaver birds have invaded their farms in large numbers.

QUESTION 25

A TAXI DRIVER ON HIS DEATH BED (By Timothy Wangusa)

When with prophetic eye I peer into the future
I see that I shall perish upon this road
Driving men that I do not know
This metallic monster that I now dictate,
This docile elaborate horse,
That in silence, seems to simmer and strain
Shall surely revolt some tempting day.
Thus I shall die: not that I care
For any man’s journey,
Nor for the proprietor’s gain.

Nor yet the love of my own.
Not for these do I attempt the forbidden limits.
For these defy the traffic man and the cold cell,
Risking everything for the little, little more.

They shall say, I know, who pick up my bones,
“Poor chap, another victim to the ruthless machine”
Concealing my blood under the metal.

Questions

  1. What is the poem about? (3mks)
  2. What is the attitude of the persona towards his fate?             (2mks)
  3. With illustrations, identify the persona in the poem (2mks)
  4. What is the irony in the poem? (2mks)
  5. With illustrations, identify and comment on any other two stylistic devices used in the poem (6mks)
  6. Comment on the following line (2mks)
    “Poor chap, another victim to the ruthless machine”
  7. How will the persona’s death come about?           (2mks)
  8. Give the poem another title (1mk)

ANSWERS

  1. It is about a taxi driver who predicts his death because of careless driving (3mks)
  2. A resigned/pessimistic attitude – the taxi driver predicts that his death will be caused by an accident and he is ready to accept it (2mks)
  3. The persona is a taxi driver. This can be seen from the title (2mks)
  4. It is ironical that the taxi driver predicts that his death will result from a road accident yet he is still doing the job (2mks)
  5. Alliteration (1mk) – “That in silence seems to simmer and strain (1mk)
    It enhances rhythm making the poem interesting and memorable (1mk)
    Metaphor(1mk) – metallic monster(1mk) – refers the taxi to a monster to show its ominous nature; its ability to bring harm and even worse death. (1mk)
  6. To mean that the taxi driver will just be a mere statistics of those who have perished through road accident (2mks)
  7. A road accident through over speeding (1mk) Illustrations – attempt the forbidden limit(1mk)
  8. Any relevant/appropriate title.(1mk)

QUESTION 26

‘SYMPATHY’
I know what the caged bird feels, Alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opens,
And the faint perfume from its petals steals-
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wings
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he rather would be on a branch and swing,
And the pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting-
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore;
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a song of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his hearts deep core,
But a flea, that upward to heaven he flings-
I know why the caged bird sings!
(Lawrence Dunbar-Negro Poetry)

QUESTIONS

  1. Explain briefly what the poem is about. (3mks)
  2. In note form, state what the poet focuses on in each stanza. (3mks)
  3. What is the persona’s attitude towards the caged bird? (3mks)
    From the poem
  4. What can we infer about the persona’s own experience? (3mks)
  5. Identify a simile in the first stanza and explain why it is used. (3mks)
  6. Apart from simile, identify and illustrate any other style used in the poem (2mks)
  7. Identify an exclamative sentence in the poem above (1mks)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following word/phrase. (2mks)
    1. And the faint perfume from its petals steals.
    2. scars

ANSWERS

  1. The tribulations of a caged bird. The refrain, ‘I know’ is used emphatically to identify with suffering. The bird longs for freedom away from the cago.
  2. Stanza 1
    The physical beauty of nature which the caged bird is deprived.
    Stanza 2
    The curtained freedom of movement the caged bird subjectedto.
    Stanza 3
    The desperation of the caged bird which makes it beats its bars, get bruised yet keep singing.
  3. Sympathetic/pitiful-says,’ I know what,…why…when his wing is bruised.
  4. He appears to have had similar experiences as the caged bird. The phrase ‘ I know why, how … is evidence.
  5. ‘And the river flows like a stream of glass’.
    To show that the caged bird is not able to enjoy the beauty of nature due to its captivity.
  6.  
  7.                    
    1. The sweet fragrance of nature’s flowers.
    2. The painful experinceas of the persona are evoked by the caged bird.

QUESTION 27

Read the following oral poem and answer the questions that follow:

Don’t cry baby
Sleep little baby
Father will nurse you
Sleep baby sleep
Little bird flitting away to the forest so fast
Tell me, little bird, have you seen her
Have you seen my crying baby’s mother?

She went to the river at early dew
A pot upon her head
But down the water floats her pot
And the path from the river is empty

Shall I take him under the palm?
Where the green shade rests at noon?
Oh no, no
For the thorns will prick my baby
Shall I take him under the giant baobab
Where the silk cotton plays with the wing?

Oh no,no
For the termite – eaten bough will break
And crush my little baby
My little sleeping baby
The day is long and the sun grows hot
So, sleep my little baby ,sleep
For mother is gone to a far,far land- Alas!
She is gone beyond the river.

QUESTIONS.

  1. Classify the above oral poem. (2 Marks)
  2. State and illustrate two features of the above oral poem. (4 Marks)
  3. Identify and illustrate the two speakers in the oral poem. (2 Marks)
  4. Why is the singer hesitant to take the baby under the shade? (1Mark)
  5. Briefly explain two functions of this song? (2marks)
  6. What is the general mood created in stanza three? ( 2 Marks)
  7. What is the singer’s attitude towards the baby? (2 Marks)
  8. Identify and illustrate any two characteristics of oral poem evident in the above poem. (4 Marks)
  9. ‘’ She is gone beyond the river. ‘’ Explain the meaning of this line. (1 Mark)

ANSWERS

  1. Classify the above oral poem. (2 Marks)
    • A Lullaby song.
  2. State and illustrate two features of the above oral poem. (4 Marks)
    • Short lines
    • Repetitive.
  3. Identify and illustrate the two speakers in the oral poem. (2 Marks)
    • The father, the dove.
  4. Why is the singer hesitant to take the baby under the shade? (1Mark)
    • He thinks that the thorns will prick the baby.
  5. Briefly explain two functions of this song? (2marks)
    • To soothe the baby.
    • To calm the crying baby .
    • To inform the baby the whereabouts of the mother.
  6. What is the general mood created in stanza three? ( 2 Marks)
    • Sad/Sombre/Melancholic
  7. What is the singer’s attitude towards the baby? (2 Marks)
    • Loving/Caring.
  8. Identify and illustrate any two characteristics of oral poems evident in the above poem. (4 Marks)
    • Rhetorical questions
    • Direct address
    • Repetition
    • Call and response
  9. ‘’ She is gone beyond the river. ‘’ Explain the meaning of this line. (1 Mark)
    • The mother is dead.

QUESTION 28

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
(Edwin Arlington Robinson)

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about. (2 marks)
  2. What do we learn about the persona from the first stanza? (2 marks)
  3. What does the following line mean “So on we worked, and waited for the light”? (2 marks)
  4. Comment on any two figures of speech used in the above poem. (6 marks)
  5. Comment on the tone of the persona towards the subject matter. (3 marks)
  6. Outline the atmosphere prevalent in the poem. (3marks)
  7. Explain the relevance of the title to the poem. (2 marks)

ANSWERS 

  1. The poem is about a man✔ who is deeply troubled yet he manages to conceal his inner conflict using a false facade✔. He has a striking outward appearances that can easily conceal the battle. “whenever Richard Cory went………….” ✔
    “….went home and put a bullet through his head”
    The poem can also be said to about:
    • Wealth and status do not guarantee happiness- the relationship between money and happiness. ✔
    • Income inequality✔
    • Perception(don’t judge a book by it’s cover) ✔

  2. Lower class/commoner/poor/subordinate/keen ✔
    The commoners are observant and they admire Richard Cory: his grooming, his simplicity, his stature. They are appreciative of his genteel nature. ✔

  3. The poet means that they worked hard and waited for their success or breakthrough ✔

  4.    
    • Irony ✔ – Richard Cory seems a happy man with all the pleasures of life yet he commits suicide. ✔Implies that wealth and status do not guarantee happiness. “Went home and put a bullet through his head”
    • Metaphor ✔ – “..So on we worked, and waited for the light,” – they are waiting for the loads to be lightened or for their lives to get easier ✔
    • Simile ✔ – And he was rich—yes, richer than a king
      Shows he was a wealth man ,lived like a royal. ✔
      (Any two well identified and explained features of style. 1d+Ill. 1mk Expl. 1mk)

  5. Ironic/Sarcastic ✔– It’s ironical that an enviable person ends up killing himself. “…..in fine we thought he was everything…..” ✔

  6. Sad/melancholic/somber ✔ – a man whose outward look is outstanding the commoners wish to emulate him but he kills himself. “…..to make us wish that we were in his place.” ✔

  7. The title of the poem is relevant ✔ because the poem is about Richard Cory; his good looks, his wealth and ultimately commits suicide. The lower class look up to him with envy and admiration.
    “…when Richard Cory went down…… ✔
    “…he was rich –yes,richer than a king” ✔

QUESTION 29

The village

Kanyiriri village of Toil,
Village of unending work.
Like a never dying spring.
Old women dark and bent
Trudge along with their hoes
To plots of weedy maize
Young wives with donkeys
From cock crow to setting of the sun.
Go about their timeless duties
Their scraggy figures like bows set in a row.
Plod up and down the rolling village farms.
With loads on their backs
And babies tied to their bellies
In the fields all day they Toil
Stirring up the soil with hands and knives
Like chicken looking for worms.
Nothing here seems to sit still
Even the village church is like a favourite well.
Where the ‘revivalist’ with their loudspeakers
Never cease calling people.
To confess their sins and drink the water of life
At dawn, men ride away leaving the women folk
To fend for the bonny goats and crying children.

  1. What is the poem about? (3marks)
  2. In note form outline the problems which the women folk in this village undergo. (4marks)
  3. Why do you think the poet has written the word Toil with capital “T”? (1mark)
  4. Identify and illustrate three stylistic devices evident in the poem. (6marks)
  5. Identify one word used in the poem that appeal to your sense of hearing. (1marks)
  6. Illustrate one character trait common in the women. (2marks)
  7. Give the meaning of these lines as used in the poem. (3marks)
    1. Old women dark and bent
    2. Nothing here seems to sit still
    3. Never cease calling people. 

ANSWERS

  1. What is the poem about? (3marks)
    Its about a village of hard work, √ where women√ work so hard /toil √
    Expect 3 points – 1 mark each
  2. In note form outline the problems which the women folk in this village undergo. (4marks)
    1. Old women toil on farms
      • Unending work
      • Village toil
      • Timeless duties
      • Cock crow to setting of the sun
    2. Young wives work for long hours of the sun all day
    3. Women carry heavy loads on backs and bellies
    4. They have to fend for bonny goats and crying children
    5. They are under fed- scraggy figures
      Any 4 x 1 = 4 marks
      Must be in note form. If not, deduct ½ mark from total
  3. Why do you think the poet has written the word Toil with capital “T”? (1mark)
    -To emphasize the fact that there is too much work.
  4. Identify and illustrate three stylistic devices evident in the poem. (6marks)
    1. Simile – The work is unending like a never dying spring
      -Then scraggy figures like bows set in a row
      ……..like children ……. church like a…………..
    2. Alliteration
      • Young wives with donkeys,
      • From cock crow;
      • setting of the sun
      • stirring up the soil with hands and knives
      • Nothing here seems to sit still.
    3. Symbolism – water of life to mean eternal life/life everlasting
    4. Onomatopoeia – Cock crow, trudge
      1 mark identification, 1 mark illustration.
      NB: illustration does not score without identification
  5. Identify one word used in the poem that appeals to your sense of hearing (1marks)
    • Cock crow
    • Trudge
    • Loudspeakers
    • Calling
      Any 1 x 1 – 1 mark
      Must be words, not sentences. If in sentences, the word must be underlined to stand out.
  6. The women are responsible /hardworking – They do all chores in the farm and homes. (1marks)
    1 mark identification; 1 mark illustration.
  7. Give the meaning of these lines as used in the poem. (3marks)
    1. Old women dark and bent
      -Worn out/tired
    2. Nothing here seems to sit still
      -No relaxation /rest
    3. Never cease calling people.
      -Do not stop preaching/evangelizing
      -maintain the original tense

QUESTION 30

Adieu

It’s two months’ today
And the absence looks eternity
But the memories and experiences-still very fresh
Thought we’d have many more years
And so much more time together
I was wrong
But the last day laughters, dances, sharings…
Then the silence
The many tubes
The complex machines
The silent prayers and tears
And then the ambulance
At one in the night
Miles away from home
These…these shall be my keepsakes
You were my son
My friend
My love
Still you are and I wanted you to know that
Until that day we meet again ,nind gi kue Thura
For I can’t forget about you yet
And I will not
Just not now!

Questions

  1. What type of oral poem is this? Explain your answer. (2marks)
  2. Besides sound devices, explain what makes the above genre an oral poem. (2marks)
  3. Explain the relevance of the title ‘Adieu’. (2marks)
  4. Identify the persona in the above genre? (2marks)
  5. Explain the mood in the oral poem above. (2marks)
  6. Explain two functions of this specific genre. (2marks)
  7. Describe the place setting that is clearly evident in this genre. (2marks)
  8. How is the persona portrayed in the oral poem? (2marks)
  9. Explain one religious aspect of the society from which the genre is drawn. (2marks)
  10. Contextualize the meaning of the following expressions: (2marks)
    1. These…these shall be my keepsakes
    2. The silent prayers and tears

ANSWERS

  1. What type of oral poem is this? Explain your answer. (2mks)
    • An elegy/dirge/funeral song-the persona mourns the late son/until the day we meet again,nind kue Thura/adieu

  2. Besides sound devices, explain what makes the above genre an oral poem. (2marks)
    • Direct address-and I wanted you to know that you were my son
    • Apostrophe-and I wanted you to know that you were my son (addressing the dead)
    • Repetition-you
    • Short lines-you were my son/my friend/my love
    • Local dialect-nind gi kue Thura

  3. Explain the relevance of the title ‘Adieu’. (2marks)
    • The persona bids farewell /goodbye to the late son-(until that day we meet again)

  4. Identify the persona in the above genre. (2marks)
    • Parent mourning his son-until that day we meet again

  5. Explain the mood of the oral poem above. (2marks)
    • Sombre/melancholic-it is a dirge, a parent mourning the son’s death.

  6. Explain two functions of this specific genre. (2marks)
    • To mourn/express sorrow/grief for the dead
    • To console the bereaved

  7. Describe the place setting that is clearly evident in this genre. (2marks)
    • Hospital-and then the ambulance/the many tubes

  8. Explain any character trait of the persona (2marks)
    • Loving/caring/concerned-you were my friend and love still you are
    • Religious-believes in life after death.

  9. Explain one religious aspect of the society from which the genre is drawn. (2marks)
    • They believe in life after death-until that day we meet again…

  10. Contextualize the meaning of the following expressions: (2marks)
    1. These…these shall be my keepsakes
      • They will form part of my memories of you/it will remind me of you
    2. The silent prayers and tears
      • Weeping quietly seeking for God’s intervention/the cries to God for guidance done quietly

QUESTION 31

Read the following oral song and answer the questions that follow:

The Nzaiko of the Akamba
Are you really circumcising or not?
That I may enter into this home
Mother Mailu, Mailu, Mailu
Mother of child, come out
Annoit me, annoit me down to my feet before I go.
The circumcision man is busy now
The reason why, I don’t know
I am fence, I protect youth
Mother of child
You better respond to me
Rather than keeping quiet
Why are you annoyed?
Are you annoyed?
Are you annoyed by my visit?
I had better examine
A gourd is inside
I had better examine.
A goat is inside
I had better examine.

Questions

  1. Briefly explain what the oral song is about. (3mks)
  2. What aspects of society are brought out in the poem? (2mks)
  3. What evidence of circumcision ceremony is there? (1mk)
  4. Identify and illustrate any three aspects of style used in the song? (6mks)
  5. Why do you think the mother of child was annoyed? (2mks)
  6. Identify and illustrate two voices in the song? (4mks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following expressions as used in the song. (2mks)
    1. Down to my feet
    2. I am fence, I protect youth

ANSWERS

  1. Briefly explain what the oral song is about. (3mks)
    • It is about circumcision among the Akamba people. √? Demands made during circumcision times√? e.g the persona is asking to be anointed. Beliefs associated with circumcision√? e.g cannot enter the home, the persona believes he is a fence that protects the youth.
  2. What aspects of society are brought out in the poem? (2mks)
    • Circumcision among the men is done√?
    • Belief in superstition√?– the persona says he may not enter into the home if circumcision is going on.
  3. What evidence of circumcision ceremony is there? (1mk)
    • The circumcision man is busy.
    • The goat was inside
    • Persona requested to be anointed/blessed with fruits of circumcision.
      Accept any one point
  4. Identify and illustrate any three aspects of style used in the song? (6mks)
    • repetition – Mother of child, I had better examine,( emphasis and create rhythm)
    • Metaphor – I am fence, I protect youth ( show strength and courage)
    • Paradox – The reason why I don’t know.(create humour to lighten the situation which might be tense) ( should state plus the effectiveness)
    • Rhetorical question – Are you annoyed? -Are you really circumcising or not?
      Identification √1
      illustration √1
  5. Why do you think the mother of child was annoyed? (2mks)
    • The man who had come to eat and drink was exerting pressure on the mother of child. √1
    • He was also interfering with people’s affairs. √1
  6. Identify and illustrate two voices in the song? (4mks)
    • mother of the initiate – I had better examine the goat inside
    • A man who has come in the feast – doesn’t want enter it circumcision is going on
      Identification √1 illustration √1
  7. Explain the meaning of the following expressions as used in the song. (2mks)
    1. Down to my feet - Allow me to enter
    2. I am fence, I protect youth - I am important in the circumcision.

QUESTION 32

HE PROMISED ME HEAVEN
He promised me heaven
As side by side walked we down the aisle
As the chime of the wedding bell brightened the day
As sweet – sounding songs soothed our souls
As he held my hand and inserted this ring into my finger
I knew that my heaven had come
For then he promised me heaven.
As we sat close and cherished our moon of honey
As he whispered cream icing into my ears
Dramatically conjuring metaphor after metaphor
Humming lullaby after lullaby
How elated I felt for being so much elevated
For here he was, my guardian angel
To take me to heaven
For he promised me heaven
As one year later he slapped me again and again
I quickly forgave and forgot
For he was my idol Who had promised me heaven
Even as the floodgate of blow after blow
Kick after kick
O pened from its cage of disaster
Defacing and eroding the beauty he so much praised
Converting me into a shell of torture
How patiently I clung to him
Anticipating the heaven he had promised me
Now as I lie in the hospital bed
Unable to rise from his violent battery
Waiting for the Angel of Death
I realize he kept his promise
For I am soon going to heaven
Because he promised me heaven,
Questions 

  1. Identify the persona? (2 marks)
  2. Explain the main theme of the poem
  3. Using the plot of the poem, explain the major changes in the subject matter. (4marks)
  4. What is speakers mood in the last six lines of the poem?. (2marks)
  5. Give one character trait of the persona (2 marks)
  6. Explain the irony in the poem (2marks)
  7. Apart from irony, identify and illustrate one style used in the poem. (2marks)
  8. What is the tone in stanzas 1 and 2 of this poem (2marks)
  9. Explain the meaning of the following line: (2marks)
    1. As he whispered cream icing into my ears.
    2. For he was my idol

ANSWERS

  1. A woman who was promised heaven when she got married. She didn’t get it instead she was thoroughly beaten
  2. Domestic violence against women the woman is beaten until she is hospitalized./ wife battery / wife battery
  3. At the beginning there is a lot of love experienced by the couple as they exchange rings. Their honeymoon is exciting. One year later, the beatings begin and continue until the woman is hospitalized.
  4. Resigned/Dissapointed she was promised “Heaven” but at the end batters her to a death bed
  5. Patient /hopeful/optimistic “Patiently clung …………….”
    Pessimistic - She only sees death awaiting.
  6. The persona was promised heaven “Which she doesn’t get. Instead she is beaten to the point of dying
  7.      
    1. Hyperboleyperbole –– my guardian angelmy guardian angel,
    2. Metaphor - Floodgate of blows
    3. Contrast - The bright life at the beginning is contrasted with the hopeless life
    4. Repetition – “ He promised me heaven”
  8. Happy / blissful/excited/ecstatic–illust - “ As sweet sounding songs soothed out souls”. “As he whispered cream icing into my ears”.
  9.  
    1. “As he whispered “………….. he was telling her sweet nothings as he loved her.
    2. “For he was my idol” - she worshipped him as he meant everything to her

QUESTION 33

MADAM AND HER MADAM
I worked for a woman
She wasn’t mean
House to clean
But she had a twelved room
House to clean
Had to get breakfast
Dinner, and supper too
Then take care of her children
When I got through
Wash, iron and scrub
Walk the dog around,
It was too much
Nearly broke me down
I said, madam
Can it be
You are trying to make a
Pack-horse out of me
She opened her mouth
She cried, “oh no!
You know Alberta
I love you so!”
I said “madam,
That may be true-
But I will be dogged
If I loved you.

Questions.

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about. (4mks)
  2. Who is the persona in the poem? (1mk)
  3. Contrast the character trait of the persona and that of Madam. (4mks)
  4. Identify and illustrate the stylistic devices evident in the poem. (6mks)
  5. Identify and explain one theme evident in the poem. (2mks)
  6. Comment on the tone of the poem. (2mks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following line used in the poem (1mk)
    “can it be you are trying to make a park-horse out of me?

ANSWERS

  1. The poem is about a house help. (1mk) who is overworked/ exploited by her employer. (1mk) . She does all the work and is never assisted. (1mk). Her employer pretends to be good to her, yet she leaves all the work on her (1mk).
  2. A house help /maid /worker / Alberta (1mk).
  3.    
    1. The persona is hard working (1mk) but the madam is lazy. (1mk)
      She does all the work but madam never assists. (1mk)
      “Had to get breakfast, dinner and supper… take care of children… wash, ion, scrub… walk the dog around. (1mk)
    2. The persona is honest (1mk) while madam is hypocritical. (1mk) The persona honestly tells her madam opinion of her. “I will be dogged if I loved you” (1mk) while madam pretends to love her while she takes her for a beast of burden. (Any 2 well illustrated traits)
  4.      
    1. Dialogue(1mk)- conversation between the persona and madam (1mk). Helps brings out the character traits of the two.
    2. Repetition (1mk) – I said .., madam(1mk)
    3. Irony (1mk) – madam claims to love the persona yet she leaves all work to her. (1mk) (Identification 1mk , Illustration 1mk)
  5. Hypocrisy (1mk) – Madam pretends to love her employee yet she overworks her (1mk).
    Exploitation(1mk) – The househelp does all the work. She’s treated like a beast of burden (1mk)
  6. Ironic | ironical tone(1mk) – madam pretends to love the persona but she gives her all the work to do. “You know Alberta, I love you so.” 1mk)

QUESTION 34

The Man He Killed

"Had he and I but met,
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because -
Because he was my foe,
Just so, my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although.

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps
off-hand like - just like I -
Was out of work - had sold his traps -
No other reason why.

Yes, quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
or help to half-a-crown."

Thomas Hardy (1840-1923)

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about.(3 marks)
  2. Identify and explain any two stylistic devices used in this poem.(6 marks)
  3. What do we learn about the persona from this poem?(4 marks)
  4. Describe the tone of this poem.(3 marks)
  5. What is the message of this poem?(3 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the word 'quaint' as used in the poem.(1 mark)

ANSWERS     

  1.                    
    • The poem is about a soldier who killed a man in battle/war.
    • The soldier is trying to figure out why he killed the man.
    • He gives a reason but even he himself is not satisfied by his answer.
    • Had he met the man under different circumstances they would have become friends/shared a drink. 
    • The man joined the army because he was jobless. 3 x 1 marks
  2.              
    • Rhyme - The poem has a regular rhyme scheme e.g. abab in stanza one, words met/wct: inn/nipperkin. Rhyme makes the poem musical.
    • Alliteration e.g. had, he, help, half; was, work, had, his Makes the poem musical / calls attention to the words used
    • Use of repetition ".... Because - Because". It brings out the personas puzzlement - he can't quite explain why the man he killed was his enemy,
    • Irony. The fact that the persona kills a man he does not hate-a man he could have easily befriended under different circumstances.
    • Also it is ironical that he joined a war whose course he does not believe in. 
    • Use of archaic language-tripperkin'-gives the setting of the poem.
      Expect identification 1 mark; illustration (1 mark): explanation (1 mark) 
  3.                          
    • He is from a working class - he speaks a simple and colloquial language e.g. *nipperkin'. 
    • He was out of work/had sold the tools of his trade.
    • He is friendly the type who enjoys socializing with others/He would gladly lend a friend some money.
    • He is horrified by the act of taking away a human life.
    • He is empathetic - he steps into the shoes of the man he killed.
    • He is critical-disapproves war.
    • Conscience stricken/regretful/remorseful-regrets shooting a man he has no personal problem with.
      Expect any 4 points
  4.                      
    • The tone is critical about war / disapproving/ironic / condemnatory/reflective.
    • The persona is puzzled by the irrationality / senselessness of war.
      2 marks for identification 1 mark for explanation
  5. The message of the poem is to make us appreciate the folly of war which makes men kill people whom they would under different circumstances befriend.
    Identification of message =2 marks
    Explanation=1 mark
  6. Quaint -- strange / odd(1 mark)

QUESTION 35

Monday morning –
School-
And spilling out ghetto alley
Like a flower spit forth
From
A mouth unbrushed,
Little Chiku,
Trotting and tripping along
In final minute hurry hurry
Now dashing onto highway
(Her bus is waiting)
Looking and not looking
Then a-a-a!!
No time to jump across
Too late to retreat
In decision
Face of fear-
Trapped
Desperate forward drive
Frantic feet pressing pedals
Wrestling of wheels
Squealing tyres
Jesusing
Tightly shut eyes
Screams
Dull thud sound
Muffled cry of pain
Frantic feet pressing pedals
Wrestling of wheels
Squealing tyres
Jesusing
Tightly shut eyes
Screams
Dull thud sound
Muffled cry of pain
Driver stepping out-
Be late for that production meeting now
Damn!
Little curled up body
Twitching once
Then lying still
In its already pool of blood.
Rapidly a mob forms
Shock
Anger
Helplessness
Then in ghetto rage
They turn on the sleek
Metallic grey Mercedes
280 SLE
Automatic and smash it
Later the cops will come
Will record elaborately
(Not forgetting the commas)
And the small body, now cold, will lie covered
For a while
The court - file will gather dust
After a while
And the driver will be guilty
For a while.

QUESTIONS

  1. Paraphrase the events that unfold in the poem. (4marks)
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  2. What is the character of the driver as depicted in the poem? (2marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. Explain two major issues highlighted in the poem? (4marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. Comment on any two poetic devices used in the poem. (4marks).
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2marks).
    1. Jesusing ………………………………………………………………….
    2. And the driver will be guilty
      For a while. ……………………………………………………………………………….
  6. What is the tone of the poem? (2marks).
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  7. Comment on the use of short lines in the poem. (2marks).

ANSWERS

  1. Paraphrase the events that unfold in the poem. (4marks)
    A little girl named Chiku is headed to school in the morning. She is about to cross the road to a waiting bus when she is hit. The witnesses burn the vehicle to ashes. The police will give a report of the events as they unfolded and the case will be in court but nothing will be done.
  2. What is the character of the driver as depicted in the poem? (2marks)
    The driver is insensitive/cruel/inconsiderate. The driver hits a child but is only concerned about getting late for a scheduled meeting.
  3. Explain two major issues highlighted in the poem? (4marks)
    Poverty:- And spilling out of the ghetto alley
    Violence:- Rapidly a mob forms and burn the vehicle to ashes.
    Injustice:- the offender is only guilty for a short time.
  4. Comment on any two poetic devices used in the poem. (4marks).
    Simile;- like a flower spit forth from a mouth unbrushed
    Alliteration:- Frantic feet; used to emphasize the urgency at which the driver pressed the brake pedals.
  5. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2marks).
    1. Jesusing called on Jesus out of shock
    2. And the driver will be guilty
      For a while.
      The driver will not face any penalty/charges for the accident, he will be set free after a short time.
  6. What is the tone of the poem? (2marks).
    sad/ sympathetic tone
  7. Comment on the use of short lines in the poem. (2marks).
    The short lines indicate that events occur in quick succession. The events unfold very fast.

QUESTION 36

Advice to my son
The trick is, to live your days
as if each one may be your last
(for they go fast, and young men lose their lives
in strange and unimaginable ways)
but at the same time, plan long range
(for they go slow: if you survive
the shattered windshield and burning shell
you will arrive
at our approximation here below
or heaven or hell)
To be specific, between the peony and the rose
Plant, squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes;
beauty in nectar
and nectar, in desert saves
but the stomach craves stronger sustenance
than the homed vine.
therefore, marry a pretty girl
after seeing her mother;
speak truth to one man,
work with another;
and always, serve bread with your wine.
But son,
Always serve wine
(Peter Meinke)

  1. Who is the speaker in the poem. Illustrate your answer. 2marks
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. In what circumstances do many young people die? Illustrate your answer from the poem. 4marks
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  3. What do heaven and hell symbolize? 2marks
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  4. Identify items in the poem that represent life’s necessities on one hand and life’s luxuries on the other. 2marks
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  5. Identify and illustrate the use of the paradox in the poem. 3marks
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  6. What does the persona mean by ‘marry a pretty girl after seeing the mother?” 2marks
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  7. The stomach craves stronger sustenance. (Rewrite using (What”) 1mark
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  8. Give two meanings of each of the following words. 2marks
    • Last……..
    • Fast….......
  9. Give the meaning of the last two lines. 2mark

ANSWERS

  1. A parent √1- says ‘but son.’√1
  2. -motor accidents√1- allude to windshield √1 (belongs to a car) -war√ 1 – bursting shell √ 1 (after explosion of bombs)
  3. Heaven- good/ positive experiences in life
    hell- horrible things we may encounter.
  4. Spinach √ ½ turnips ½ desert√ ½ tomatoes√ ½ squash√ ½ and bread√ ½ (food) -necessities
    Peony√ ½ nectar√ ½ wine√ ½ and rose√ ½ -luxuries
  5. He advises the son on one hand to live each day to the fullest as if were his last and on the other hand he advises him to plan for future.
  6. Don’t be deceived by the appearances, later on things could change. Know her (pretty girl) background before marrying her.
  7. What the stomach craves is stronger sustenance
  8. Last- endure/ stay for long time -past or previously
    fast- to forgo food
    -to move quickly
  9. The son is advised to have fun/ luxurious life / have time for pleasure

QUESTION 37

MY PAPA'S WALTZ
The whiskey on your breath,
Could make a small boy dizzy,
But I hung on like death,
Such waltzing was not easy,
We romped until the pans.
Slid from the kitchen shelf,
My mother's countenance,
Could not unfron itself,
The hand that held my wrist,
Was battered on one knuckle,
At every step you missed,
My right ear scrapped a buckle,
You beat time on my head,
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed,
Still clinging to your shirt.

  1. Identify the persona in the poem (3 marks)
  2. What is the poem about? (4 marks)
  3. What is the attitude of the persona towards Papa? (2 morks)
  4. Identify and explain one figure of speech used in the poem. (3marks)
  5. Briefly explain the general atmosphere created in the poem (3 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following phrases as used in the poem. (3 marks)
    1. My mother's countenance
    2. With a palm-caked hard by dirt
    3. He waltzed me off to bed
  7. What is the economic status of the persona's family (3 marks)

ANSWERS

  1. A small boy (1 mark)
    "Could make a small boy dizzy
  2. The poem is about a small boy (1 mark) whose father comes home drunk (1 mark) and dances with him as he takes him to sleep. (1 mark)
  3. Loving (1 mark) / affectionate attitude
    He clings to (1 mark) Papa's shirt because he does not want to let go of Paps even though Papa wants him to sleep. He affectionately refers to him as 'Papa' (1 mark) 
  4. Simile - hung on like death (1 mark) just like death is inseparable to all human (1 mark) beings, the boy will remain close to with Papa.
  5. Happy atmosphere (1 mark) Unlike the mother who appears disheartened by Papa's behavior, the persona seems to enjoy (1 mark) every happening.
  6.                      
    1. Mother's facial expression
    2. Very dirty hand
    3. He dances as he takes me to bed.
  7. Poor/Low Economic status (1 mark) The father is a manual laborer (1 mark) "... palm jacked hard by dirt", They have a small house (1 mark) "... waltzing causes pans to slide off the kitchen shelf (1 mark)

QUESTION 38

DEATH IS A WITCH

SOLO : Ah, what shall I do, Abaluhya?
           It’s wrong
CHORUS : Today I will say
                Death is a witch, my people
                It snatched my child
                I will remain alone
SOLO : Ah what shall I really do, Abaluhya
            It’s very wrong.
CHORUS : Today I will say
                Death is a witch, my people
                It snatched my friend
                I will dance alone
SOLO: My child, my friend, I cry
          What shall I do? I cry
          What shall I do? I cry x2

QUESTIONS

  1. Classify the above oral poem giving reasons (3 mks)
  2. Who is the persona? (2 mks)
  3. What is the singer’s attitude towards death? (3 mks)
  4. Identify and illustrate THREE stylistic devices in this poem. (6 mks)
  5. Identify one character trait of death brought out in this poem. (2 mks)
  6.  With illustrations, identify social activities of the community from which this song is drawn (2 mks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem (2 mks)
    1. It snatched my child.
    2. I will dance alone.

ANSWERS

  1. Classify the above oral poem giving reasons (3 mks)
    • A dirge – Death is a witch, my people what shall I do? I cry.
  2. Who is the persona? (2 mks)
    • The persona is a parent who has lost a child/whose child has died.- It snatched my child.
  3. What is the singer’s attitude towards death? (3 mks)
    • Contemptuous/critical /condemnatory/hatred.
    • The singer blames death for taking away the child. “Death is a witch
    • I will remain alone”
  4. Identify and illustrate THREE stylistic devices in this poem. (6 mks)
    • Repetition – Today I will say
    • I will remain alone:
    • Direct translation – It snatched my child.
    • Direct address – my people.
  5. Identify one character trait of death brought out in this poem. (2 mks)
    • Death is portrayed as being cruel.
    • Death is a witch.
  6.  With illustrations, identify social activities of the community from which this song is drawn (2 mks)
    • Social dancer – I will dance alone.
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem (2 mks)
    1. It snatched my child. - The child has died/ taken by death in a cruel manner.
    2. I will dance alone. - The parent is left with no one to comfort him/her.

QUESTION 39

Good-Bye
Shirley J. Stankiewicz
(Ode to Alcohol)

The queasy feeling in my stomach
The pounding in my head
The only thoughts in my mind
Were wishing I was dead

My forehead covered in cold sweatS
Body shakes beyond control
The endless aching in my bones
As you consumed my very soul

The minutes turned into hours
The hours turned into days
Suddenly, every moment that I ever lived
Was just a smoke filled haze

As I watched my body waste away
And my life slowly coming to an end
I realized. That I was wrong
You're the devil and not my friend

So, I'm taking back what's left of my life
Not one more second will you dominate
I'll bet the strength that lives in me
You didn't anticipate

Cast you spell on someone else
Find another unsuspecting prey
I came to live, NOT to die
And my life begins TODAY...

  1. Briefly describe what the poem is about? (4marks)
  2. The “you” in the poem has greatly wasted the speaker. Identify the ways in which “you” has done this. (4marks)
  3. What is the tone of the poem? (2 marks)
  4. Identify and illustrate two stylistic devices evident in the poem. (4 marks) 
  5. “Not one more second will you dominate” (1mark)
    Use “any more”
  6. Identify and illustrate two character trait of the persona. (4marks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2marks)
    1. And my life slowly coming to an end
    2. Find another unsuspecting prey

ANSWERS

  1. Briefly describe what the poem is about? (4marks)
    1. It is about an alcohol addict. He has taken alcohol that has left him with odd feelings in the stomach, headache and being hopeless. He has however, decided to live by fighting against alcoholism.
  2. The “you” in the poem has greatly wasted the speaker. Identify the ways in which you has done this. (4marks)
    1. Leaving queer feeling in the speaker’s stomach. 1mk
    2. Has caused the persona headache. 1mk
    3. The speaker’s body shakes as a result. 1mk
    4. Caused aches to the bones. 1mk
    5. Caused sweat on his forehead. 1mk
    6. Almost claimed his life. 1mk
      (Mark any 4 points)
  3. What is the tone of the poem? (3marks)
    1. Regretful. The speaker seems to be feeling sorry for their action of taking alcohol that has wasted him.
  4. Identify and illustrate two stylistic devices evident in the poem.(4 marks)
    1. Rhyme e.g dead, head Days,haze
    2. Metaphor- you are the devil and not my friend
    3. Personification- you consumed my very soul
    4. Effect; creates musicality, enhances memorability and creates rhythm
    5. Alliteration e.g. were wishing I was dead (accept any other)
  5. “Not one more second will you dominate” (1mark)
    Use “any more”
    1. You will not dominate any more second.
  6. Describe two major trait demonstrated by the persona. (4marks)
    1. Remorseful- He is sincerely feeling regret for being an addict.
    2. Optimistic- I came to live not to die
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2marks)
    1. And my life slowly coming to an end
      • Slowly dying.
    2. Find another unsuspecting prey
      • Find someone else who doesn’t know the effects.

QUESTION 40

The song of the common man.

They drive me along
They do, they do
These my brothers no longer brothers
Their mouths are canons, spittle of fire
No longer am I the same father's pride

They kick me along
They do they do
These playmates no longer playmates.
Their actions are fate, my life they decide
No longer am I the same free born human

They abuse me, they do time and again
Fellow humans load me a poor ass
To be driven pushed, kicked and abused.

  1. Identify the persona in the poem.  (2 marks)
  2. What is the message of the poem? (4 marks)
  3. State and explain the effectiveness of any three stylistic devices. (6 marks)
  4. What is the meaning of the following lines?     (4 marks)
    1. Their mouths are canons, spittle of fire.  
    2. Their actions are fate, my life they decide
  5. What is the attitude of the persona towards 'they' in the poem? Illustrate your answer. (2 marks)
  6. What is the tone of the poem? Illustrate your answer.   (2 marks)

ANSWERS

  1. Identify the persona in the poem. (2mks)
    The persona is a poor man/destitute/slave/beggar (✓1) + illustration (✓1)
    (no mark without illustration)
  2. What is the message of the poem? (4mks)
    The poem is about social injustice/suffering/mistreatment/slavery/etc (1) in which a poor man is subjected to burden of mistreatment and oppression (1) by people some of whom are very close relations (1) + illustration. 
  3. State and explain the effectiveness of any three stylistic devices. (6mks)
    1. Irony of relatives who mistreat their own: "These my brothers no longer brothers." This emphasizes the bitterness/etc of the speaker.
    2. Metaphor. The speaker says that “Their mouths are cannons, spittle of fire” to portray the inhumanness/etc of his colleagues.
    3. Repetition “They do” gives us the weight and resigned state/etc of the speaker.
    4. Hyperbole. “Their mouths are cannons, spittle of fire"/etc. The suffering/oppression/degradation is intensive.
    5. Etc
      Mark 3 points: ident + illust (1), effectiveness (1)
      No mark without illustration
  4. What is the meaning of the following lines? (4mks)
    1. Their mouths are canons, spittle of fire-They hurt the persona by their abusive/insulting words.
    2. Their actions are fate, my life they decide - they determine his future with their decisions
  5. What is the attitude of the persona towards 'they' in the poem? Illustrate your answer. (2mks)
    1. Hateful/contemptuous
    2. Scornful
    3. Critical                              + illustration
    4. Spiteful
    5. sympathetic
      mark any 1 point” ident(1), Illust (1) (do not mark without illustration)
  6. What is the tone of the poem? Illustrate your answer. (2mks)
    1. Resigned
    2. Ironic                                           poignant
    3. Sarcaticsad/gloomy/dismal         + Illustration
    4. sympathetic
      Mark any 1 point: Ident (1), Illust (1). Do not mark without illustration

QUESTION 41

CIVIL WAR

In this land
Graveyards have no markers
For blood flows freely
Into the gutter
Where corpses abide
In restless sleep

In this land
Kinship is long dead
And the insiders prevail
A neighbours hand
In darkness hidden
Stifles yet another victim’s light.

In this land
The window blows across the neglected fields
Promising yet another spectacle
Of hollowed eyes and pinched skins
Trudging and falling to the unyielding trains
Of self-destruction

In the air
The whiter dove
Flutter with change
And perhaps
It would be better if this symbol of peace
Were established in the souls of the people
In this land

Questions

  1. What is the poem about? (2mks)
  2. Who is the persona in this poem? (2mks)
  3. Identify any two features of style used in the poem and explain their effectiveness. (6mks)
  4. Describe the tone of the poem. (2mks)
  5. Explain the significance of the last stanza in relation to the title of the poem. (2mks)
  6. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2mks)
    1. kinship is long dead
    2. stifles yet another victims light.
  7. What is the attitude of the persona towards the subject matter? (2mks)
  8. What is the mood of the poem? (2mks)

ANSWERS

  1. What is the poem about? (2mks)
    • Poem is about civil war and its effects: e.g death (graveyards) blood flows, people maiming each other, relational deaths. (kinship long dead)
  2. Who is the persona in this poem? (2mks)
    • A resident of the land, an observer in this land.

  3. Identify any two features of style used in the poem and explain their effectiveness. (6mks)
    • Repetition – ‘in this land’. Emphasis on the fact that elsewhere things could be different but here
    • Metaphor – hollowed eyes and pinched skins. Maiming caused by injuries caused by war.
    • Symbolism – ‘whiter dove’ peace and optimism in the future.

  4. Describe the tone of the poem. (2mks)
    • Angry – blood flows freely
    • Bitter – merciless killings serious in this land
    • Optimistic – white dove flutter with change

  5. Explain the significance of the last stanza in relation to the title of the poem. (2mks)
    • Better days ahead if people’s hearts are changed
  6. Give the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem. (2mks)
    1. kinship is long dead
    2. stifles yet another victims light.
  7. What is the attitude of the persona towards the subject matter? (2mks)
  8. What is the mood of the poem? (2mks)

QUESTION 42

Love Is Not All
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

By Edna St Vincent Millay (From Literature: The Human Experience: Reading and Writing by Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz, 2009).

  1. What is the poem about? (3 marks)
  2. Which basic needs are mentioned in the poem that love cannot satisfy?(2 marks)
  3. Identify and illustrate four features of style in this poem?(4 marks)
  4. What does the persona mean by this line: "Yet many a man is making friends with death.(2 marks)
  5. Identify and illustrate two character traits of this persona ( 4 marks)
  6. What lesson can we learn from this poem? (3 marks)
  7. Explain the meaning of each of the following expressions as used in the poem:(2 marks)
    1. nagged
    2. sell

ANSWERS

  1. The poem is about the mystery of love. (1) The persona is aware that love cannot give us solutions to life's problems, (1) but he would be reluctant to exchange love for anything (1)
    Love is not all.
    (3 marks warded as indicated.) 
  2.  
    • Food/drink
    • Sleep
    • Shelter
    • Good health
      Any two for 2 marks - 
  3. (1 mark each = 4 marks (No mark for Identification without illustration) 
    • Repetition - rise and sink
    • Alliteration - man is making /m/
    • Rhyme - c. drink and sink/regular rhyme scheme(/rain/ - /again/)
    • Irony - Love is not a cure to our problems yet people die for it
    • Personification - pinned down by pain / making friends with death
    • Metaphor driven to sell your love/ Love is not meat nor drink
    • Consonance - down/ pain
    • Assonance-  'it is" 'fill thickened with'
    • Paradox -Yet many a man is making friends with death
    • Symbolism - Not yet floating spur to men that sink Men Mods
    • Onomatopoeia "moaning
      ( Any 4 illustrated point 1 mark each)
      (Accept any other correct answer)
  4. Surprisingly, many people are taking their lives because of love)- many people are dying because of love/ casual death/ reflective/ philosophical
  5.  ( identification - 1 mark, Illustration - 1 mark)
    • Analytical': the persona examines the nature of love and looks at all its aspects/He or she reveals the mystery of love.
    • Loyal - promises never to betray his beloved whatever the hardships he/she faces.
    • Resolute /firm/strict/ uncompromising/unyielding/ determined-I do not think I would."
    • Realistic practical/pratice/ reasonable. Love is not all."
    • Cynical -LOVE if not all
    • Optimistic/hopeful I do not think would ...sell love...."
    • Persona is wise.
  6.    
    • Love is mysterious and powerful and if we are not careful it could lead to outrageous things. 
    • The should handle love carefully.
    • Love is painful futile
    • Love is important
    • We should give love a chance
      ( answer should not be given in negative)
      (Identification 2 marks, Appropriate illustration- 1 mark)
  7.  
    1. pestered/bothered troubled / annoyed continually/ constantly/ torment/ worried/ disturbed
    2. Sell - betray/ trade/ exchange/ sacrifice 

QUESTION 43

Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstain.

  1. Identify the speaker in the poem. (2marks)
  2. Briefly state what the poem is about (3marks)
  3. Illustrate three literary devices evident in the poem. (6 marks)
  4. Do the children stand for something in the poem? What do they represent? (2marks)
  5. Describe the feelings of the persona towards where he and his friends live. (3marks)
  6. What shows that the poet appreciates nature? (2 marks)
  7. Explain what the following line means in the context of the poem. (2marks)
    We shall walk a walk that is measured and slow.

ANSWERS

  1. A disgruntled inhabitant/someone who doesn't like where she lives.
    "Let us leave this place...' (2mks)
  2. An inhabitant urging his friends or neighbours to leave where they live,
    Because it is polluted/insecure. (Let us leave...smoke blows black/...dark street)
    To a place that is natural beautiful/unpolluted/secure. (grass grows soft/sun burns...) (3mks)
  3. Repetition: And there
    We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
    And watch where...
    The children.
    Where the sidewalk ends
    Alliteration: grass grows
    walk with
    watch where
    Past the pits
    Juxtaposition: ... where the sidewalk ends
    ...before the street begins. (ident+illust.6mks)
  4. Yes
    The future that is secure, full of hope, brighter. (2mks)
  5. Feelings of contempt/ disdain/scom/dislike/hate or
    Contemptuous/disdainful/ dismissive/scornful/hateful/loathsome/repulsive
    Let us leave this place...
    (ident+illust. 3mks)
  6. Grass grows, sun burns, moon-bird, peppermint wind, asphalt flowers
  7. We shall walk confidently/with confidence (2mks)

QUESTION 44

One hand cannot manage work
A threshing stick cannot thresh millet with one hand
Some hands breed hatred at the eating time
Nobody hates being assisted
Let millet be threshed
Let it be threshed, let it be threshed

Cut a threshing stick for me
A lazy wife
Is taken back to her parents
When the rain fails
It blames the wind
And a lazy woman
Blames the threshing stick

Cut a threshing stick for me – ii 
My co – wife, cut me a threshing stick
You woman, owner of this occasion
Remember that work is the stomach
Take care not to starve us
The threshing ticks are sounding
Let the millet leave the threshing ground

(Adapted from oral literature of the Embu and Mbeere by CiarunjiChesaina)

Questions

  1. What kind of oral poem is this?                      3mks
  2. Identify and illustrate the oral features of this poem        6mks
  3. What does this poem tell us about the role and place of women in this community?    4mks
  4. According to this poem, which moral values were emphasized in this community?      3mks
  5. Explain the meaning of the following lines           4mks
    1. Some hand breed hatred at eating time  
    2. Remember that work is the stomach

ANSWERS

  1. The oral poem is a work song. The poet explains the importance in which the community attaches to work
    - A lazy wife is taken back to her parents
    - “Remember work is stomach” – meaning the workers should be well fed in order to work effectively.
  2.  
    1. Direct translation – “When a threshing stick for me”.
      - “Work is the stomach”
    2. Personification – “When the rains falls it blames the wind
    3. Local dialect or vernacular – ‘cut a threshing stick for me……’
  3. – Women are charged with the responsibility of feeding their households. They are expected to work hard to provide food for their husbands and children. This is illustrated by the statement ………………………”take care not to starve us”
    - The society is chauvinistic and women are relegated to the role of home makers…….
    - A lazy wife is frowned at and usually taken back to her parents.
  4. Values are emphasized are;
    1. Hard work or illustriousness “work is stomach”
    2. Unity or cooperation – one hand cannot manage work
    3. Friendship - “some hands breed hatred at eating time”
  5. – some individual enjoy the benefits without making any contributions ie; reap without sowing hence create conflict
    - One cannot enjoy the benefits of anything without working hard
    - For instance the poem emphasizes the fact that people would starve if no meaningful work goes on in the farm.

QUESTION 45

Remains by Simon Armitage

On another occasion, we get sent out
To tackle looters raiding a bank.
And one of them legs it up the road.
Probably armed, possibly not.

Well myself and somebody else and somebody else
Are all of the same mind,
So all three of us open fire
Three of a kind all letting fly, and I swear

I see every round as it rips through his life –
I see broad daylight on the other side.
So, we’ve hit this looter a dozen times
And he’s there on the ground, sort of inside out,

Pain itself, the image of agony.
One of my mates goes by
And tosses his guts back into his body.
Then he’s carted off in the back of a lorry.

End of story, except not really.
His blood-shadow stays on the street, and out on patrol
I walk right over it week after week.
Then I’m home on leave. But I blink

And he bursts again through the doors of the bank.
Sleep, and he’s probably armed, possibly not.
Dream, and he’s torn apart by a dozen rounds.
And the drink and the drugs won’t flush him out –

He’s here in my head when I close my eyes,
dug in behind enemy lines,
not left for dead in some distant, sun-stunned, sand-smothered land
or six-feet-under in desert sand,

but near to the knuckle, here and now,
his bloody life in my bloody hands.

Questions.

  1. What is this poem about? (3 marks)
  2. What can you infer from the title of the poem? (3 marks)
  3. The language in this poem is colloquial and slang. Explain the significance of using such language. (2 marks)
  4. Pick out a statement that shows the soldier has had to deal with such similar situations. (1 mark)
  5. Identify an example of repetition and explain its effect in the poem. (2 marks)
  6. Describe the speaker’s feelings about his actions in stanza 2 and 3. (3 marks)
  7. Basing your answer on the last three stanzas, how is the speaker affected by his earlier actions in the poem? (3 marks)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following phrases as used in the poem: (3 marks)
    1. legs it up ....
    2. sort of inside out.....
    3. carted off..

ANSWERS

  1. The poem is about a soldier √1remembering how he and his fellow soldiers collectively shot a looter. √1 It was their duty. √1 However, after he goes back home/ on leave, the images of the dead man keep disturbing him. √1 Sleep/drink/drugs cannot help get the images out √1leaving him distraught/distressed/ traumatized. √1 (Any 3 points)
    Or
    The poem is about trauma. √2Soldiers returning from war are affected by trauma/the horrific conflicts. √1 Much as they collectively depart on a national duty, privately/ individually they return with mental anguish/trauma/distress which they are forced to live with. √1
    (Identification of theme =2 marks. Any one illustration/ explanation= 1 mark)
  2. The title is ironic. √1 ‘Remains’ refers to the dead body of the looter who was shot and killed, √1 but also to the mental torment and guilt suffered by the soldier, which stays with him long after the period of action in the war zone. √1 (He ends the life of a looter yet he remains alive with horrifying/disturbing/distressing scars of that action.)
  3. This language is used to reflect the voice and outlook of an ordinary soldier/ police officer in the ranks. √2 / This brings the reader close to the man and his way of thinking. √2
  4. “on another occasion” √1
  5. “probably armed, possibly not” √1
    This reveals the mental disturbance/ doubt/ anguish/ torment/ guilt that persona has to content with after his actions. √1
  6. The speaker feels unsympathetic/cold/ indifferent. √2He is bold/courageous and duty-bound/obliged/ obligated since he is under instructions to shoot. √1 /“Are all of the same mind, So all three of us open fire.” √1
  7. He is distraught/haunted/ troubled/disturbed / distressed by the killing √2 “He’s here in my head when I close my eyes”. √1
    Or
    Whereas the shooting was done by him and others, he individually carries the sense of guilt/fault/blame √2“his bloody life in my bloody hands” √1
  8.  
    1. runs away/ takes to his heels √1
    2. disemboweled/ dismembered/ mutilated/ disfigured √1
    3. carried (away) √1

QUESTION 46

Pedestrian to passing Benz-man

You man, lifted gently
Out of the poverty and suffering
We so recently shared; I say
Why splash the muddy puddle onto
My bare legs as if, still unsatisfied
With your seated opulence
You must sully the unwashed
With your diesel-smoke and mud-water
and force him buy, beyond his mean
A bar of soap from your shop?
A few years back we shared a master
Today you have none, while I have
Exchanged a parasite for something worse
But maybe a few years is too long a time.

  1. Briefly explain what is happening in the poem.   (3 marks)
  2. With two illustrations from the poem, describe the economic condition of the persona.
    (4 marks)
  3. Explain the significance of the following images in the poem.(6 marks)
    1. Muddy puddle/mud-water. 
    2. Diesel smoke. 
  4. What is the importance of the last line in relation to the rest of the poem.  (4 marks)
  5. Explain the tone of the poem.     (3 marks)

ANSWERS

  1. A man is walking about the streets and is splashed with mud and diesel – smoke by a passing vehicle deliberately. The pedestrian is complaining by this act of arrogance/show off/forgetfulness of the other state of life earlier on.
  2.  
    1. Poverty strikes – poor and suffering due to lack of money.
    2. Can’t afford food/clothes/shoes or soap because of money scarcity.
    3. Suffering due to being pressed by the dictatorial nature the master bare legs – dirty with mud.
  3.  
    1. Muddy puddle/mud water – stagnant poverty/permanent state of suffering.
    2. Diesel – smoke – suffering state/irritating state.
    3. Parasite – despondency/oppressor/exploiter.
  4. Importance of, “exchanged a parasite for something were. But maybe a few years is too long a time.” Some hope of change. Yearning of better times to come/vengefulness.
  5. Condemning/accusing/cursing/loathing/abusive/dismissive.
    (Identification and explanation should be brought out.).

QUESTION 47

THE DEATH OF MY FATHER BY Henry Indangasi
His sunken cheeks, his inward-looking eyes,
The sarcastic, scornful smile on his lips,
The unkempt, matted, grey hair,
The hard, coarse sand-paper hands,
Spoke eloquently of the life he had lived.
But I did not mourn for him.
The hammer, the saw and the plane,
These were his tools and his damnation,
His sweat was his ointment and his perfume,
He fashioned dining tables, chairs, wardrobes,
And all the wooden loves of colonial life.
No, I did not mourn for him.

He built mansions,
Huge, unwieldy, arrogant constructions;
But he squatted in a sickly mad-house,
With his children huddled stuntedly
Under the bed-bug bed he shared with mother.
I could not mourn for him.
I had already inherited
His premature old-age look,
I had imbibed his frustration;
But his dreams of freedom and happiness
Had become my song, my love.
So, I could not mourn for him.
No, I did not shed any tears;
My father’s dead life still lives in me,
He lives in my son,
I am my father and my son,
I will awaken his sleepy hopes and yearnings,
But I will not mourn for him,
I will not mourn for me.

Questions

  1. What kind of life had the persona’s father lived?                         (3 marks)
  2. Pick out and explain two examples of personification used in the poem. (4 marks)
  3. Explain the contrast in second and third stanza.                         (3 marks)
  4. Cite one other stylistic device used in the poem and explain its usefulness. (2 marks)
  5. Explain the meaning of the last two lines of the poem in relation to the rest of the poem.  (3 marks)
  6. Briefly discuss the tone of this poem.                                                 (2 marks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following phrase/lines as used in the poem.
    1. Bed-bug bed                                                                                     (1 mark)
    2. I had already inherited his premature old-age look                         (1 mark)

ANSWERS

  1. A hard-frustrating life √1 of dire poverty and need √1 his hands are rough like sandpaper and he lives in a “sickly” mud house √1
  2.  
    • Hands spoke eloquently. √1 hands are said to speak like people √1
    • Arrogant constructions. √1 The constructions are said to be arrogant like a person√1
    • Sickly mud-house. √1 the mud-house is said to be sick like a human being √1
    • Sleepy hopes and yearnings. √1 hopes and yearnings are said to be sleepy like a person. √1
      (any 2: example √1 and explanation √1)
  3. The sharp contrast between wealth and comfort. √1 the persona’s father worked so hard to produce for the colonialists √1 and the abject poverty he lived in with his family. √1
  4. Repetition of the idea of not mourning the father. Helps show how alive the father’s hope ands dreams are still alive, that his dreams are not dead.
    Metaphor – sand paper hands. Shows how rough/coarse the hands were suggesting that carpentry work was very difficult.
    Alliteration – bed-bug bed -gives the poem/stanza a musical quality.
    (Any one device √1 effect √1)
  5. The persona did not and could not mourn the father because he feels that there is hope √1 of improving the circumstances that they all live in, just as the father had kept all those hopes live. √1 Mourning him would be like giving up√1, resigning himself and posterity to fate. 3mks
  6. Solemn √1but/optimistic: the persona feels that there is hope in the future, that’s why he feels no need to mourn. √1
  7. Bed-bug bed – the bed was infested by parasites√1 I had already inherited his premature old-age look – the speaker’s father and himself had acquired looks of old age long before they were that old. √1

QUESTION 48

BACK HOME
And one day I went back home:
Back home to the old homestead
With a ring of old huts
Surrounding a wide compound:

Swept clean for children to play
And yell and laugh and cry.
I walked briskly, thinking of home
Smoke rising from the huts
Filtered through the thatched roofs:

Dripping wet after a shower of rain;
Moist ground in the compound,
Grandpa sitting on his stool
and sipping from his gourd;
Birds singing in the mango tree:

And then finally I reached home:
The air heavy with silence
Huts, down in dry heaps of dilapidation
Shoots of scorched elephant grass:
Growing piously in the compound:

A carpet of mango leaves
Falling on the mound of earth
Under which was buried but the tip
Yes, only the tip of grandpa’s walking staff
Could be seen peeping from under the earth:
Pointing down to where the owner lay;

The lasting indication
Of his inability to talk again
Except by echoes of silence
Telling me I went back too late:
Jwani Mwaikusa.

Questions

  1. Describe the setting in this poem.     (2 marks)
  2. Who is the persona in the poem?       (2 marks)
  3. Where is grandpa? Give reasons for your answer.    (2 marks)
  4. What is the effect of the alliteration in line 17?   (2 marks)
  5. Giving two examples, show the effect of contrast as used by the poet.   (4 marks)
  6. Identify and illustrate the two different moods prevailing in this poem.   (4 marks)
  7. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the poem.   (4 marks)
    1. ‘A carpet of mango leaves Falling on the mound of earth”
    2. ‘Of his inability to talk again Except by echoes of silence

ANSWERS

  1. The setting is in a rural area√ 1   — the persona talks of huts/homestead. √ 1
  2. The persona is a grandson / granddaughter / grandchildl — talks of grandpa. √ 1
  3. Grandpa is dead√1 because we are told that the walking staff was buried under a mound of earth and it pointed to where the owner lay. √ 1 The staff peeped from under the earth where the owner lay. √ 1
  4. The alliteration is - huts/heaps- down/dry/dilapidation or /h/and /d/.√ 1 The alliteration creates mood/rhythm/suspense. √ 1
  5. The first three stanzas contrast with the last three.
    1. The memory of children “playing and yelling laughing and crying” is contrasted with “The air heavy with silence”. The effect of this is to create a sense of foreboding/fear. Showing or warns that something is amiss/wrong. √2
    2. “A wide compound swept clean for children to play” is contrasted with “shoots of scorched elephant grass growing piously in the compound/”a carpet of mango leaves”. Their effect is an indication of neglect or that something is wrong. √2
    3. “Smoke rising from the huts” is contrasted with “Huts down in dry heaps of dilapidation”. This warns of a disaster/danger. √2
    4. “Grandpa sitting on his stool” is contrasted with “Grandpa lying under the earth” i.e. dead. This contrast creates atmosphere/mood. √2
      Generally each contrast has the effect of changing mood.                       (2 marks each x = 4 marks)
  6. The first mood is foundin the 1st stanza. It is nostalgic. √ l The persona describes the home with fond memories e.g. children, yelling, laughing and crying or “birds singing in the mango tree”. √l The second mood is found in the 4” stanza. It is sad/solemn. √l With the death of grandpa the homestead has collapsed. √l
  7. Lines
    • “A carpet of mango leaves falling on the mound of earth”, means a great number of leaves falling on the grave. √
    •  “Of his inability to talk again except by echoes of silence”. This emphasises that grandpa is dead and that the persona will never hear him talk again. √2

QUESTION 49

The light of the whole being,
The illuminator of my very self,
In your presence darkness exists no longer,
You make me feel bright and shining all over,
Oh! My moon. 

My moon is still not yet fully full,
My moon is three-quarter full,
Still becoming what it will be,
But the brightness of my moon surpasses all other moons,
Oh! My moon. 

My moon is uncomparable,
My moon has possession of the natural beauty,
The sight of my moon makes hearts stop a beat or melts hearts’
The smile of my moon makes the whole of my being hot and boiling,
Oh! My moon.

My moon when will you become a full moon?
I have waited long enough and my patience is fading away,
I may end up devouring my moon before it is fully ripe,
My moon my moon without you then I am not;
Oh! My moon

From when I wake I think only of you my moon,
At noon you are still dwelling in my mind,
In the evening I die just to see you,
And in the dark night I am restless and sleep never comes,
Oh! My moon.

By NYagilo. C

QUESTIONS

  1.  
    1. classify the poem.   (2mks)
    2. What does the term moon refer to. (1mk)
  2. What do you think the persona means when he says that his moon three quarters full? (1mk)
  3. Give the character traits of the persona. (4mks)
  4. Identify any other words the poet uses to refer to the moon?(2mks)
  5. State how the moon affects the persona’s mind at different times. (4mks)
  6. Which aspects of style has the poet employed? (4mks)
  7. Give the meaning of the following words as used in the poem. (2mks)
    1. Devouring
    2. Surpasses

ANSWERS

  1.  
    1. Love poem- the light of whole being
      Without you then am not. (2mks
      Praise poem – in your presence darkness exists no longer
    2. A girl\woman. (1mk)
  2. He means that his lover is not fully mature.(1mk)
  3.  
    1. Loving- you are the light of my whole being
    2. Praiseworthy – without you then am not My moon is uncomparable. (4mks)
  4. Light, Illuminator. (2mks)
  5. In the morning he is thinking of her only. At noon she’s still dwelling in his mind In the evening he is dying to see her. At night he is restless and sleep never comes. (4mks)
  6. Repetition-oh
    my moon
    Imagery (metaphor)- my moon- refers to his lover
    Rhetorical question-my moon when will you become a full moon?(4mks)
  7.  
    1. Devouring- eating hungrily. (2mks)
    2. Surpasses- exceeds, goes beyond

QUESTION 50

FAMINE

The owner of yam peels his yam in the house:
A neighbour knocks at the door
The owner of yam throws his yam in the bedroom:
The neighbour says, “I just heard
A sound, ‘kerekere’, that is why I came,”
The owner of the yam replies,
“That was nothing, I was sharpening two knives.”
The neighbour says again, “I still heard
Something like ‘bi’ sound behind the door.”
The owner of the yam says,
“I merely tried my door with a mallet.”
The neighbour says again,
“What about this huge fire burning on your hearth?”
The fellow replies,
“I am merely warming water for my bath.”
The neighbour persists,
“Why is your skin all white, when this is not the Harmattan season?’
The fellow is ready with his reply,
I was rolling on the floor when I heard the death of Agadapidi.”
Then the neighbour says, “Peace be with you.”
The owner of the yam starts to shut,
“There cannot be peace
Unless the owner of food is allowed to eat his own food!”

Questions.

  1. Briefly explain what the poem is about(2 marks)
  2. What does the neighbor hope to achieve by being so persistent? (3 marks)
  3. Using illustrations, describe any two character traits of the owner of the yam(4 marks)
  4. Identify the ideophones words in the poem(2 marks)
    1. How do we know that the neighbour is observant? (3 marks)
    2. Describe the tone of the owner of the yam(1 mark)
  5. The neighbour says, “peace be with you.” Why is this statement ironic?(3 marks)
    What lesson can we learn from this poem?(2 marks)

ANSWERS

  1. The poem is about an encounter between twoneighbours during famine. One of them hasfood that he stubbornly refuses to share with hishungry ‘brother’(2 mks)
  2. The neighbour hopes that by being persistent,the owner of the yam will relent and give him some. Although the owner denies everything,the neighbour shows him he knows that he (the owner) is refusing to own up the truth whenit is so obvious. The neighbour also hopes toprick his “friend’s” conscience. He hopes thatguilt will force the owner of the yam to share the yam.(3 mks)
  3. The owner of the yam is:-
    1. Mean / selfish - inspite of the efforts the neighbour makes, he refuses to share his food.
    2. Innovative /schemer / creative - He formulates quick answers to counteract what his neighbour says. (4 mks)
  4. The ideophones words are “kerekere” and “bi”. (2 mks)
  5. The neighbour is very observant because henotices things like fire and associate it with themeal the owner wants to prepare. He alsonotices the owner’s “skin” is “all white” of course the whiteness is from the yam peelings. The owner of the yam refutes everything. But the owner is not fooled. (3 mks)
  6. Bitter, dismissive - There cannot be peace ... ( 1 mk)
  7. The statement “Peace be with you” is ironic because the neighbour is probably being sarcastic. He cannot be wishing somebody whohas denied him food peace. He has made the owner of the yam guilty. A person with a guiltyconscience is unlikely to have peace. ( 3mks)
  8. We learn that we should share what we have with the needy. When we don’t, we cannot have peace with ourselves or others. (2 mks)

Poem 51

Read the poem below and answer the questions that follow.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
And with the old woes new wail my dear time’s waste
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For previous friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep a fresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er.
The sad account of foregone-bemoaned moan,
Which I now pay as if not paid before .
But if the while I think of thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
William Shakespeare
Questions

  1. Describe the rhyme scheme of the poem above (2 marks)
  2. Identify the most dominant sound devices in the poem (2 marks)

Answers

  1. Describe the rhyme scheme of the poem above (2 marks)
    • Aaaababacdceff – regular scheme
  2. Identifythe most dominant sound devices in the poem (2 marks)
    • Alliteration –
      Sessions of sweet silent
      With old woes and wail
      grieve at grievances

Poem 52

Read the oral poem below and answer the questions that follow.

The Crop Thieves
Tswiri tswiri! I the person, I suspect?
What have you heard that makes you suspicious?
I heard things said, rumours of weaver birds;
They ate corn in Lesiba’s field and finished it.
And when they left they sounded hummmmm-
They said, “Listen to the numerous weaver birds, sons of Mosima;s family.
Children of the horse that ate the courtyards and the times,
It is the numerous weaverbirds,
The grey ones that go about in swarms,
Children with the little red beaks,
Children that make a noise in the mimosa trees,
Tupu-tupu! The smoke comes out while the dew still glitters.

Howaaa! Sweaaa! – is heard in the early morning
They are finishing the corn, the numerous weaver birds.
Children with the little red beaks.
At home, it is yo! yo!
The children are crying,
Their mothers have gone to the fields to the birds,
It is the Zulus that have entered the country,
Take axes and loop the tree branches,
Yo! This year we shall eat five,
We shall lack even a blue-tongued goat!
It is numerous weaverbirds, the grey ones that go about in swarms.
Questions

  1. What kind of oral poem is this? (2 marks)
  2. Explain two functions of the above oral poem (2 marks)
  3. Identify and illustrate two oral features of this poem (4 marks)
  4. What does the poem tell us about the character trait of the weaverbirds.      (2 marks)
  5. Which lines show that people will keep on suffering if they don’t keep the birds away? (2 marks)
  6. Identify and illustrate two economic activities practiced in this community. (4 marks)
  7. What is the attitude of the singer towards the weaverbirds?  (2 marks)
  8. Explain the meaning of the following lines as used in the song.  ( 2marks)
    1. We shall lack even a blue-tongued goat.
    2. It is the Zulus that have entered the country.

Answers

  1. Work song
  2.  
    • Encourage communal work
    • Communicate a strong message
  3.  
    • Ideophones.   Tuputupu, yo-yo
    • Conversational aspect  line 2 and 3/Direct address
  4. Destructive.     They are finishing the corn
  5. This year we shall eat five
    We shall lack even a blue-tongued goat
  6.  
    • Crop cultivation
    • Livestock keeping
    • Lumbering
  7. Desperate/irritable/worried.  This is a result of the destruction of the crop by the weaver birds
  8.  
    1. We shall lack even a blue-tongued goat.....there will be totally nothing to live on
    2. It is Zulus that have entered the country ---widespred destruction 

Poem 53

Read the oral poem below and answer the questions that follow.

The poor man knows not how to eat with the rich man.
When they eat fish, he eats the head.

Invite a poor man and he rushes in
licking his lips and upsetting the plates.

The poor man has no manners, he comes along
with the blood of lice under his nails.

The face of a poor man is lined
from hunger and thirst in his belly.

Poverty is no state for any mortal man.
It makes him a beast to be fed on grass.

Poverty is unjust. If it befalls a man,
though he is nobly born, he has no power with God.

  1. Identify and illustrate any four features of oral poetry evident in the poem above.    (8marks)
  2. Describe a probable situation in which such a poem could be performed.   (2 marks)
  3. During a recitation of this oral poem, what three elements should be emphasized?   (3 marks)
  4. What does the phrase '…with the blood of lice under his nails' reveal about the poor man?(2 marks)
  5. Describe with illustrations the tone of this oral poem.    (3 marks)
  6. Explain the meaning of the following   (2 marks)
    1. he eats the head
    2. he has no power with God

Answers

Read the oral poem below and answer the questions that follow.

  1. Identify and illustrate any FOUR features of oral poetry.(8marks)
    • There is the use of direct translation ''the poor man has no manners."
    • Personification - ''from hunger and thirst in his belly'' Or ''poverty is unjust.'' Poverty has been given human qualities.
    • Alliteration - licking his lips
    • Consonance - blood of lice under his nails
  2. Describe a probable situation in which such a poem could be performed. (2 marks)
    • Can be directed at the youth to caution them to abhor laziness and uphold hard work. …the poor man is devoid of self dignity. 
  3. During a recitation of this oral poem, what elements should be emphasized?(3 marks)
    • Tonal variation
    • Proper use of gestures and facial expressions
    • Mimicry
    • Correct articulation of words
  4. What does the phrase '…with the blood of lice under his nails' reveal about the poor man?(2 marks)
    • Lice are insects associated with dirt and unhygienic conditions. They dwell in bodies of individuals who are dirty. As such, the poor man is portrayed as dirty. 
  5. Describe with illustrations the tone of this poem.   (3 marks)
    • Satirical/humorous tone  
    • Invite a poor man and he rushes in
    • Licking his lips and upsetting the plates
    • Poverty is unjust. If it befalls a man, though he is nobly born, he has no power with God.  
  6. Explain the meaning of the following:  (2 marks)
    • he eats the head  
      • He lacks any form of self-dignity. Poverty has dehumanized him.
    • he has no power with God
      • Poverty is like a curse from which one cannot extricate himself.

Poem 54

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice,
From what I have tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.

But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
(by Robert Frost)

Questions 

  1. Show two ways by which the poet achieves rhythm in the poem and state the function. (3 marks)
  2. How would you perform the line? (2 marks)
    ‘I think I know enough of hate’
  3. If you were to present this piece to your classmates, how would you know they are appreciating the message in the poem? (2 marks)

Answers

  1. Show how the poet achieves rhythm in the poem and state what it achieves. (3 marks)
    • Through rhyming words /rhyme: i) fire desire ii) hate great iii) ice twice suffice
    • Alliteration: i) some say, ii) world will iii) favour fire
    • Repetition: some say has been repeated/write it twice.
    • Assonance-hold those
      They enhance
    • memorability
    • musicality
    • poesy     2 styles 1 function.
      Identification and correct illustration 1 mark at least 2 and 1 mark function.
  2. How would you perform the line?
    I think I know enough of hate.  (2 marks)
    1. looking down in reflection upon realizing that the effects hatred and desire give rise to the same effect. They are destructive.
    2. Nodding to bring out the acceptance that hatred and burning desires are quite destructive and only lead into harming oneself and in return destroy the world.
    3. In a solemn tone to show the dilemma or do they give rise to the same effect. which one is better hatred or desire
    4. Rising at but and falling at twice - introduces an aspect of choice between desire and hatred and through it brings out a nonchalant attitude towards what can destroy human relations. Falling tonation
    5. Stress the following word but perish twice. But captures the dilemma while perish and twice enhance that desire and hatred give rise to the sam effect. None is better. I think know hate
      (Award one verbal and non-verbal cue.)
  3. If you were to present this piece to your classmates, how would you know they are appreciating the message in the poem?(2 marks)
    1. They wear a disgusting facial expression upon realizing that desire and hatred are quite destructive in human relations.
    2. They nod in agreement.
    3. They maintain appropriate eye contact with you.

Poem 55

Read the poem below and then answer the questions that follow. (20marks)
Adieu
It’s two months today
And the absence looks eternity
But the memories and experiences-still very fresh
Thought we’d have many more years
And so much more time together
I was wrong
But the last day laughers, dances, sharing…
Then the silence
The many tubes
The complex machines
The silent prayers and tears
And then the ambulance
At one in the night
Miles away from home
These…these shall be my keepsakes
You were my son
My friend
My love
Still you are and I wanted you to know that
Until that day we meet again, nind gi kue Thura
For I can’t forget about you yet
And I will not
Just not now!

  1. What type of an oral poem is this? Explain your answer. (2mks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. Identify three stylistic devices employed in the above genre. (6marks) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. Explain the relevance of the title ‘Adieu’. (1marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. Identify the persona in the above genre. (2marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. Explain the mood of the oral poem above. (2marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  6. Explain two functions of this specific genre. (1marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  7. Explain any character trait of the persona (2marks) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  8. Explain one social aspect of the society from which the genre is drawn. (2marks)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  9. Give the meaning of the following expressions: (2marks)
    1. These…these shall be my keepsakes
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    2. The silent prayers and tears
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Answers

  1. What type of oral poem is this? Explain your answer. (2mks)
    • An elegy/dirge/funeral song-the persona mourns the late son/until the day we meet again ,nind kue Thura/adieu
  2. Identify the stylistic devices employed in the above genre . (6marks)
    • Direct address-and I wanted you to know that you were my son
    • Apostrophe-and I wanted you to know that you were my son (addressing the dead)
    • Repetition-you
    • Local dialect-nind gi kue Thura
  3. Explain the relevance of the title ‘Adieu’. (1marks)
    • The persona bids farewell /goodbye to the late son-(until that day we meet again)
  4. Identify the persona in the above genre. (2marks)
    • Parent mourning his son-until that day we meet again
  5. Explain the mood of the oral poem above. (2marks)
    • Sombre/melancholic-it is a dirge, a parent mourning the son’s death.
  6. Explain two functions of this specific genre. (2marks)
    • To mourn/express sorrow/grief for the dead
    • To console the bereaved
  7. Explain any character trait of the persona (2marks)
    • Loving/caring/concerned-you were my friend and love still you are
    • Religious-believes in life after death.
  8. Explain one social aspect of the society from which the genre is drawn. (2marks)
    • They believe in life after death-until that day we meet again…
  9. Contextualize the meaning of the following expressions: (2marks)
    1. These…these shall be my keepsakes
      • They will form part of my memories of you/it will remind me of you
    2. The silent prayers and tears
      • Weeping quietly seeking for God’s intervention/the cries to God for guidance done quietly

Poem 56

A BREAKTHROUGH

When I reached the threshold
The gate was quickly locked
Though loud and long knocked
They left me in the cold.

I stood outside for long.
Wondering what was wrong.
Honour wouldn’t let me
A peeping Tom be

When night tiptoed behind
Me a stranded pilgrim
Ah, I made up my mind
To fight on for my dream

I crashed open the gate
Uncaring it was wrong
Wow, I was hugged with a song
A welcome initiate!

QUESTIONS

  1. Describe the rhyme scheme of the first two stanzas of this poem. (3marks)
  2. Apart from rhyme, identify and illustrate two other ways in which rhythm has been achieved in the poem. (4marks)
  3. If you were to perform this poem live, why would it be important for you to face the audience? (1 mark)
  4. How would you say the last line of this poem and why? (2 marks)

Answers

  1. Describe the rhyme scheme of the first two stanzas of this poem. (3marks)
    • aaaa bbcc.
    • The rhyme scheme is regular.
  2.  Apart from rhyme, identify and illustrate two other ways in which rhythm has been achieved in the poem. (4marks)
    • Alliteration- loud, long
      Wondering, what, was
      Made, my mind
    • Assonance -night, behind
      What, was, wrong
      Was, wrong
      My, mind
      Fight, my
  3. If you were to perform this poem live, why would it be important for you to face the audience? (1 marks)
    • To get feedback , tknow how the audience is reacting to the presentation and if need be adjust accordingly.
    • Enables you to use non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and gestures.
  4. How would you say the last line of this poem and why? (2 marks)
    • With a falling intonation to bring out excitement at the persona’s achievement.
    • Smile to show the excitement and achievement.
      (Accept any reasonable gesture)

 

Join our whatsapp group for latest updates

Download Poetry Questions and Answers.


Tap Here to Download for 50/-




Why download?

  • ✔ To read offline at any time.
  • ✔ To Print at your convenience
  • ✔ Share Easily with Friends / Students


Read 17497 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 July 2023 13:10
Get on WhatsApp Download as PDF
.
Subscribe now

access all the content at an affordable rate
or
Buy any individual paper or notes as a pdf via MPESA
and get it sent to you via WhatsApp

 

What does our community say about us?