Q. Does ‘dyin’ really rhyme with ‘lion’? Can you say it in such a way that it does.
Ans. It is a case of irregular rhyme. However, ‘dyin’ can rhyme with ‘lion’ if we pronounce it ‘dion’.
Q. How does the poet suggest that you identify the lion and the tiger? When can you do so, according to him?
Ans. A lion is a large and tawny beast. It roars at us when we are dying. On the other hand, a tiger has black stripes on its yellow skin. We can do so when we are roaming round in a jungle.
Q. Do you think the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ in the third stanza are spelt correctly? Why does the poet spell them like this?
Ans. The words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ are not spelt correctly. The correct spellings are ‘leapt’ and ‘leap’. However ‘lept’ is sometimes used in poetry as past participle of ‘leap’. The repetition of ‘lep’ and ‘lep’ in the last line gives rise to alliteration and indicates the fastness of the leopard’s attack.
Q. Do you know what a ‘bear-hug’ is? It’s a friendly and strong hug – such as bears are thought to give, as they attack you! Again, hyenas are thought to laugh, and crocodiles to weep (‘crocodile tears’) as they swallow their victims. Are there similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in your own language(s)?
Q. Look at the line ‘A novice might get nonplus’. How would you write it ‘correctly’? Why is the poet’s incorrect’ line better in the poem?
Ans. The correct form would be ‘‘A novice might be/get nonplussed’. However, the poet’s line is better in the poem because ‘nonplus’ rhymes with ‘thus’.
Q. Can you find other examples of poet taking liberties with language, either in English or in your own language(s)? Can you find examples of humorous poems in your own language(s)?
Ans. The poet’s taking liberties with languge is called ‘poetic licence’. A poet is not bound by the rules of grammar. One can find plenty of examples in poetry of what we call ‘poetic licence’. For example, in the following lines the word ‘prest’ is used instead of ‘pressed’ so that it may rhyme with ‘breast’:
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast
Another example is from Keats’s ‘‘Ode to Autumn’’:
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind
Here the noun ‘wind’ will be pronounced like the verb ‘wind’ so that it may rhyme with ‘find’.