can anyone read this poem n tell me what i have written about it correct or not? plus can u plz answer the questions below?

BURNING OF THE LEAVES

LAWRENCE BINYON

He wrote this poem after World War II.

  • He begins the poem with a description of forest fire and its effects on nature. He says that with a forest fire comes the time for the dead and decayed leaves in the forest to burn. As the fire spreads everything catches fire and we can smell smoke everywhere as it spreads all around slowly forming a mist. He presents a gloomy picture by saying that the mist is ‘weeping’. The fire starts because of the hot weather and the friction between the dead and decayed leaves and then catches everything in its way.
  • He tells how the leaves catch fire. The leaves have been dead for so long that they have become brittle and hard. They resist at first but finally give in and make a crackling sound as they break.
  • In the first stanza he says how the fire starts from decayed leaves n burns them. In the second stanza he talks about how this fire destroys even fresh flowers and vegetations and everything beautiful in the forest.
  • Hollyhock is a flower with a long stalk in its centre and the poet symbolizes it with a tower which has fallen and now because of the fire has burnt into ashes. Everywhere there is a stench and a stinking smell of decayed and burnt leaves and flowers. All the vegetations have been burnt and destroyed. Rose which is the eternal symbol for beauty has become a ghost. It means it has been burnt that it cannot be recognized anymore. There is no beauty anywhere. There is fire everywhere and sparks go high till they vanish in the sweeping mist.
  • The last line of the second stanza “fingers of fire are making corruption clean” shows how this fire which is destroying everything is in fact cleaning the forest of the dead and decayed leaves and all the rotten things which were once part of the beauty of the forest but now only add gloom and ugliness to the forest. Furthermore, they stop new growth and regeneration of nature.
  • After describing how a forest fire helps to regenerate growth and birth of nature, in the third stanza he says that now that the war is over and the days of destruction and misery are over its time for us to look inside ourselves and start from the very beginning just like after the fire everything begins from the very start. Its time to forget unnecessary wishes and comfort and work for reconstruction of the world. It’s not a time to cry over spilt milk or to think who has won the war because in fact nobody has won the war. A war never ends in anyone’s victory. Everybody loses after a war because there is so much destruction. Forget everything and let go of everything. The world is no more the same as it was before the war. The war has changed everything. All of us need to make efforts to make the world a safe and peaceful place free from corruption and hatred.
  • In the last stanza he again comes back to the scene of forest. Here he uses a hopeful and optimistic tone and says that after the fire new flowers and leaves will bloom. They will grow from the present rottenness to their old glory and beauty and then everything will be the same. There will be pleasant fragrance of flowers everywhere. We have witnesses this destruction but our future generations will see these changes.
  • However the last two lines of the poem hold the most important part of the poem: the destruction caused by the forest fire will be forgotten because nature will take care of that. It will regenerate life and beauty in the forest as it takes responsibility to revive whatever it has destroyed, but it does not take responsibility to redeem our faults! Whatever destruction we bring upon ourselves, nature is not going to make it right. We have to do it ourselves. Spring is certain to come and it will set right everything the fire has destroyed but what about the spring for the mankind, who is destroying its world by its own hands and doing nothing to make it right?

    • Alliteration:
    1. 1st stanza, 4th line, “Brittle and blotched”, “ragged and rotten”.
    2. 1st stanza, 6th line, “stubborn stalks”
    3. 2nd stanza, 4th line, “reddest rose”
    4. 2nd stanza 6th line, “Fingers of fire”, “corruption clean”



      • Rhyme Scheme: Four stanzas of six lines each with rhyme scheme of abcadc.


      • Personification:
      1. Mist in st. 1 line 3 – “weeping mist”.
      2. Flame in st. 1 line 5 – “flame seizes…”
      3. Fire in st. 2 line 6 – “fingers of fire”
      4. Earth in st. 4 line 5 – “earth cares for…”



        • Theme:
        Lawrence Binyon, in this poem criticizes the war, and says that people fight these wars to gain power but ultimately no one wins. Everybody loses because of the destruction and loss of lives. Through this poem he is saying that while nature takes care for its own destruction it does not do so for us. We have to think about it and let the go of the past. What is gone is gone. But now is the time to bring some changes in the world. We can make this world a beautiful place again, but for that we will have to make efforts. Just like nature sets everything right which it had destroyed, we have to build our world again, by ourselves.


        • Imagery:
        1. On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist.
        2. All burns! The reddest rose is a ghost;
        3. The last hollyhock’s fallen tower is dust.
        4. Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare.
        5. Time for the burning of days ended and done,



          • Symbolism:
          1. spices of June – fragrances in the month of June
          2. different eyes – future generation.


          3. QUESTIONS:

              1. In the first line does ‘Now’ mean autumn or a forest fire?
              2. Why does he use the word weeping in line 3? If for the mist then what does he mean by the mist?
              3. In the first stanza he talks about dead leaves and in the second about fresh flowers?
              4. What does ‘spices of June’ mean in second stanza?
              5. What does ‘stripping the spirit bare’ exactly stand for?
              6. The hollyhock in the second stanza was dead before it caught fire or was destroyed because of fire?
              7. What does the last line of the poem ‘nothing is certain, only the certain spring’ mean?
              8. What is the metre in this poem?
              9. Are there any more metaphors or symbols?
              10. What kind of poem is it- an elegy?


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I had to laugh at your scolding this person for not doing their own work. I tried to get my son to use this poem for an assignment last night and he wouldn't go for it since he didn't "get it." I wish I had seen this site last night. I enjoyed your interpretation and explanation. I, until now, had my own opinions formed on what this poem meant, to me anyway. I don't remember where or when I stumbled across it, but it definitely struck a chord in my heart. It must have been during the fall though when I go through that depressing funk stage of the year with the "holidays" all looming just around the corner. I'm sure I must be a candidate for that sad syndrome, from lack of sunlight. Just look what happens to a healthy plant if you put it in the wrong window! My take on this poem was a little more personal. I knew he must've been referencing the war due to the time frame it was written. However, I read my own history into it and feelings that come up at this dying off time of year. I was once happily married to a wonderful Japanese man and we were happily and busily going about our daily lives with our young son, all living in Japan. He was taken away from us in the blink of an eye one day while riding his motorcycle en-route to work. A man in a car misjudged and pulled out in front of him and killed him. My son was almost two at the time. The biggest shame is that he'll never experience for himself what a wonderful person his father was. So, before I fall apart again here, let me make my point. I pull this poem out of the closet every Fall when I want to have myself a really good cathartic cry and then end up catching my annual nasty cold/upper respiratory whatever you want to call it. For me, I interpreted this to mean that it's ok to bemoan your situation or the hand you've been dealt, but that eventually, in good time, the earth and mother nature, the natural flow of life and death will eventually straighten things out and pull your bootstraps up and deal with it. /To quote a recent t-shirt I've seen floating around catalogues, "Pull up your big girl panties and deal with it!" There's nothing worse than a whiner. O.K. I've said my bit, not that anyone out there might be listening. Thanks for your instruction.

Sherrie Aoki
thanx YoHf...all i needed was for someone to tell me if what i wrote was correct:)...i do my own work anywayEmotion: stick out tongue
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Hello GEM

One or two comments:

1. The poem describes burning leaves in autumn in a bonfire, rather than a forest fire.

2. The second stanza contrasts the dead and decaying remains of plants with what they were in the summer. Thus the rosebush that was flowering in June is now (in autumn) merely dead flowerheads and dead leaves.

3. I'm not sure the 3rd stanza necessarily refers to the war. It's more a case of "clearing out the detritus of the past year".

4. Alliteration, rhyme scheme, personification: all correct.

MrP
Ctd...

5. Theme: I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of the poem's relation to the war. Destruction seems to be a positive thing, in the context of the poem. Where do you locate LB's criticism of the war?

6. Imagery: good.

QUESTIONS:

1. In the first line, ‘Now’ means "in this season" (autumn)

2. It's a misty time of year. The smoke mixes with the mist. Objects in a mist tend to run with water: thus "weeping".

3. In the first stanza he talks about dead plants; in the second, about those plants when they were alive.

4. ‘Spices of June’ means the fragrances of June: the scents of flowers.

5. ‘Stripping the spirit’ of all that's transient and trivial, perhaps.

6. The hollyhock is a garden plant; it died naturally, and is now decaying.

7. Nothing is certain, in the world, except the fact that spring will return.

8. It's a loose iambic pentameter: each line has five feet; but the poet reverses feet and sometimes substitutes trochees, dactyls, etc. for the basic iamb.

9. Yes, I think you could call it an elegy.

Very good work, GEM! Let me know if you need any more help.

MrP
hi,

i was wondering if you could help me find the metaphors used in this poem i am having a difficult time with that part of my assignment.

Amanda
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