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Class: 12th

Subject: English



Flamingo (Keeping quiet)



Summary of the poem




Summary of the poem:

In this poem, the poet has emphasized the need to introspect and bring in the spirit of brotherhood among the people of the world. He wants people to stop talking and stop all movements symbolizing agitation and restlessness till he counts twelve, that is, a short period of time. These moments of silence would be strange and exotic because in our mundane life we are working towards selfish goals, regardless of the other’ requirements and emotions. Hence, this sudden silence would give us an opportunity to introspect. Since we would not speak for a while, barriers between communities would break and a sense of brotherhood would prevail. Man would get an opportunity to realize how he is destroying nature and how he is harming himself. Futile wars against men and nature would be arrested and a new feeling of unity would be experienced. The poet does not want his desire for inactivity to be misunderstood as a state of uselessness. He wants men to learn a lesson from the Earth. The Earth appears to be inactive yet it is selflessly productive. Men too could be productive and progressive without any aggression, selfishness and the urge for destruction.


1Q.why does the poet advocate silence?

Ans -The poet advocates silence so that we can get time for introspection. There is a mad rush in the world today. Confusion, tension and stress prevail everywhere. Relaxation is lacking in the world. The poet says us to keep quiet and introspect ourselves so that we can be freed from worldly maladies.


2Q. What is significant about “twelve” in the poem?

Ans.There are twenty-four hours in a day in all, with twelve

There are 12 days of Christmas.


Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.


At twelve, the hands of a clock are one. It is Oneness that the poem calls for.


Count the letters in the title “Keeping Quiet”, there are twelve.


The poet may have used 'twelve' to signify time. Counting twelve means one second.



3Q. what does the poet advocate to do to create feeling’s of mutual understanding and unity among human beings ?

Ans. Here the poet is encouraging a unified movement among people, with no discrimination based on race or language. This would be a mass movement for the first time on the face of the earth, and would greatly enhance unity. Let us stop for a moment and not move our hands so much in violence i.e. Let us not fight and argue so much.


4Q.who are those who prepare green wars’ here? What would they do when they introspect for a few moments?

Ans. Those who prepare green wars’ are the people engaged in researching new methods

Of warfare like biological weapons eg, nerve gas. They aim at getting victory even if the entire humanity is wiped out. When they keep quiet they would realize a newness of life. They would put on new clothes and crave for meeting and harmonizing with their fellow brothers.


5Q. what does the poet actually mean by keeping quiet when he says that it should not be confused with total inactivity?

Ans. The poet cautions the reader that keeping quiet does not mean total inactivity or resignation to or negation of life. Actually he means that life as it happens should be lived with full involvement, both physically and spiritually. This is clear in his saying ‘ I want no truck with death’.


6Q.what importance does the poet give to The Earth, when he says that it can teach us an essential meaning of life?

Ans. The poet says that when everything seems dead on the surface of the earth, there pulsates and throbs life underneath. It means that the earth should be seen and realized in the right perspective. Keeping still for some time opens up its mysteries when we introspect ourselves vis-à-vis of the earth.


Q6.What suggestions does the poet give the man to avoid war?

Ans. The moment of inactivity will bring a halt to man’s destructive activities. When man will realise the value of universal brotherhood and fellow feelings, he will avoid wars.


Q7.How has man threatened himself to death?

Ans. The increasing arms race and man’s rapid advancement towards progress at the cost of nature has brought him on the verge of extinction.


Q 8. How will it later ‘prove to be alive’?

Ans. Life is an eternal and ongoing process. Man is caught in the cycle of birth and death. New life is believed to rise from the dead remains.


Q 9 . On what note does the poet conclude the poem?

Ans. The poet concludes the poem in a serene and pious note leaving the listeners in an ecstatic and exotic moment of peace. He asks everyone to be quiet and enjoy the bliss of silence and start the exercise of introspection.


10. What is the theme of the poem?

Ans. Silence creates an exotic moment, where one forgets ones differences,war comes to a stand still and feeling of brotherhood prevails.





Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

1. Describe Aunt Jennifer’s tigers. How are they different from her?

Ans. Aunt Jennifer’s embroidered tigers prance across a green screen. They are fearless. They are not afraid of the man beneath the tree. They move elegantly with brave style and confidence which is opposite to Aunt Jennifer’s character who is meek and finds difficult to pull the ivory needle from the wool and on whom the responsibility of married life weighs heavily.

2. Explain ‘massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band’.

Ans. Aunt Jennifer is tied down by the constraints of married life. The wedding band symbolizes the ordeals of married life.

3. Why do you think Aunt made the tigers that were proud and unafraid?

Ans. Aunt Jennifer wanted to be chivalric like the tigers; but was stifled by the institution of marriage. To give an expression of freedom to her subdued self she embroidered the prancing tigers that were proud and unafraid.



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