Question 1. What laburnum is called in your language.
Answer: In Hindi, the Laburnum tree is called the amaltaas tree.
Question 2. Which local bird is like the goldfinch.
Answer: The local bird similar to the goldfinch is called Indian Lutino Ringneck.
Think It Out
Question 1. What do you notice about the beginning and the ending of the poem?
Answer: The thing similar in the beginning and the ending of the poem is that the Laburnum tree is still and silent on both occasions.
Question 2. To what is the bird’s movement compared? What is the basis for the comparison?
Answer: The bird’s (goldfinch’s) movement is compared to that of a lizard. The basis of the comparison is that the goldfinch’s movement is sudden and abrupt, which is quite similar to the movement of a lizard.
Question 3. Why is the image of the engine evoked by the poet?
Answer: The poet evokes the image of the engine as it is the source of energy for a machine. The poet compares the bird with an engine as she is the source of energy for the machine i.e. the nest where the chicks are resting.
Question 4. What do you like the most about the poem?
Answer: I like the description of the Laburnum tree laden with yellow flowers. Apart from this, I also like the arrival of the goldfinch which changes the silent tree into one full of noise . and activity.
Question 5. What does the phrase “her barred face identity mask” mean?
Answer: The Laburnum tree has flowers that fall like bars and, when the bird sits behind the flowers, the shadow of the flowers on her face looks like she is wearing a mask that has bars on it. Thus, ‘barred’ is actually an adjective for the flowers and has been transferred and applied to the bird.
Extract based Questions and Answers
I. Read the extract given below and answer any two of the questions that follow.
The Laburnum top is silent, quite still In the afternoon yellow September sunlight, A few leaves yellowing, all its seeds fallen.
Question 1.What does ‘Laburnum top’ mean here?
(a) It means the top part of any tree
(b) It means the top part of the Laburnum tree
(c) It means the top part of a fictional tree
(d) It does not mean anything
Answer: (b) It means the top part of the Laburnum tree
Question 2. What has happened to the tree?
(a) The tree is being worshipped
(b) The tree has been cut down
(c) The leaves of the tree have turned purple and are falling down
(d) The leaves of the tree have turned yellow and its seeds falling down
Answer: (d) The leaves of the tree have turned yellow and its seeds are falling down
Question 3. Find a word from the extract which is the antonym of ‘noisy’.
Answer: (d) Silent
II. Read the extract given below and answer any two of the questions that follow.
Then sleek as a lizard, and alert, and abrupt,
She enters the thickness, and a machine starts up
Of chitterings and a tremor of wings, and trilling
The whole tree trembles and thrills.
Question 1. Who is ‘she’ in the second line ? Where does she enter?
(a) She is the baby goldfinch who enters the thickness of the Laburnum tree
(b) ‘She’ is a squirrel who enters the thickness of the Laburnum tree
(c) ‘She’ is a lizard who enters the thickness of the Laburnum tree
(d) ‘She’ is the mother goldfinch who enters the thickenss of the Laburnum tree
Answer: (d) ‘She’ is the mother goldfinch who enters the thickenss of the Laburnum tree
Question 2. What does ‘machine’ refer to in the extract?
(a) If refers to the machine used to drill a hole in the tree
(b) It refers to the machine used to cut the tree
(c) It refers to the nest of the goldfinch where its young ones are staying
(d) It refers to the nest of the squirrel
Answer: (c) It refers to the nest of the goldfinch where its young ones are staying
Question 3. Find a word from the extract which is the synonym of ‘entire’.
Answer: (c) Whole
III. Read the extract given below and answer any two of the questions that follow.
Then with eerie delicate whistle-chirrup whisperings She launches away, towards the infinite
And the Laburnum subsides to empty.
Question 1. What does ‘launches’mean in the extract?
(a) It means sleeping
(b) It means flying
(c) It means diving
(d) It means fluttering
Answer: (b) It means flying
Question 2. What effect does the last line create?
(a) It creates the contrast between the liveliness of the tree and its silence
(b) It creates the contrast between the change of seasons
(c) It creates an opportunity to plant more Laburnum trees
(d) It creates the scene for the arrival of new bird species on the tree
Answer: (a) It creates the contrast between the liveliness of the tree and its silence
Question 3. ……….from the extract means the same as ‘strange’ and ‘mysterious’.
Answer: (d) Eerie
Short Questions and Answers
Question 1. Why is the poem named ‘The Laburnum Top’?
Answer: The poem has been named ‘The Laburnum Top’ because the top of the Laburnum tree has been described in detail in the poem. It is on the top of the Laburnum tree that the nest of the goldfinch is located and where all the activity takes place when the goldfinch visits the nest.
Question 2. What is the significance of ‘yellow’ in the poem?
Answer: The flowers of the Laburnum tree and its leaves (in autumn) both are yellow in colour. Apart from this, the goldfinch’s feathers are also yellow in colour. The poem highlights the high security that the mother bird (goldfinch) ensures for her babies and the colour yellow helps in camouflaging the babies. Hence they escape being noticed by any predator.
Question 3. How is the tree transformed during the bird’s visit?
Answer: After the goldfinch arrives on the tree, the silent and still Laburnum tree suddenly starts trembling and moving. The whole tree comes to life as the chicks of the goldfinch make a lot of noise as they chitter and trill on seeing their mother.
Question 4. To what is the movement of the goldfinch compared? What is the basis for the comparison?
Answer: The movement of the goldfinch is compared to that of a lizard. The basis of the comparison is the sleek, alert and sudden movements of a lizard. The goldfinch makes similar kind of movements when it arrives on the Laburnum .tree to avoid being noticed by any predator.
Question 5. ‘Then sleek as a lizard and alert and abrupt, She enters the thickness’. Explain the given line.
Answer: The lizard is a quick moving animal. It is also very alert and its movements are sudden. In the given line, the arrival of the goldfinch on the Laburnum tree is described. The poet describes its movements as alert and sudden just like that of a lizard. This is done to avoid getting the attention of the predators.
Question 6. What is the engine of the machine? What is its fuel?
Answer: The goldfinch has been called the engine of her family. Just as the engine starts up the machine, the goldfinch’s arrival in the nest has suddenly started the machine i.e. the young ones in the nest have started making noise. The fuel of the engine is the food that the goldfinch brings for her chicks.
Question 7. How does the Laburnum ensure security for the nestlings?
Answer: According to popular belief, the bark and the seeds of the Laburnum tree are poisonous. So, predators normally do not come near the tree. Apart from this, its yellow flowers and yellowing leaves in the autumn season complemented by the yellow coloured feathers of the goldfinch help in camouflaging the nestlings from the predators.
Question 8. Explain the line, ‘And the Laburnum subsides to empty’.
Answer: This is the last line of the poem. It describes that with the departure of the goldfinch from the Laburnum tree, it falls silent. The tree was noisy and lively when the goldfinch came to feed its chicks, but it reverts to its earlier self after its departure from the tree.
Long Questions and Answers
Question 1. The arrival of the goldfinch on the Laburnum top brings about a change in the poem. How do you interpret this change? Is change good or bad in life?
Answer: At the start of the poem, the top of the Laburnum tree in the poem is silent and still. There is hardly any activity on it as the sunlight falls on it on a September afternoon. However, with the arrival of the goldfinch, it suddenly becomes a place of feverish activity. The silence of the place is broken by the twittering and chirruping of the chicks and the goldfinch.
I think that the change brought about by the arrival of the goldfinch on the Laburnum top is good, as it breaks the monotony. The tree becomes alive and lively with the movement of the goldfinch and the twitterings and chirrupings of the chicks.
Change can be good or bad in life depending on a situation. However, the fact is that change is the only constant in life. So, even if a change is bad, we have to accept it and move on in life.
Question 2. What values do you learn from the goldfinch in the poem ‘The ‘Laburnum Top?
Answer: The goldfinch has its nest on the top of the Laburnum tree in the poem, ‘The Laburnum Top’. Her chicks stay in the nest while she (the mother goldfinch) keeps going out at regular intervals to get food to feed her chicks. This shows her caring nature and highlights the values of motherly care and affection of a mother towards her offspring.
The other aspect of the goldfinch that is captured in the poem is its movement. She arrives at the Laburnum top in a sudden manner and is very much alert to her surroundings. The poet has compared her movement with the sleek movement of a lizard. However, there is a reason for her moving like this (in an alert and sudden manner). She is moving in this manner so as to avoid getting noticed by any predator. She does not want any predator to know that her chicks are resting in her nest on the Laburnum top as then the predators may kill them or harm them. The values of safety and security for her offspring is highlighted in this act of the goldfinch.