Grammar and language use; Poems


Listen to my bitter song of lamentation,

The pain and clamour of my youth,

I cry for the vanishing light, that was my future,

Wilting for sweetness of bitter fruits,

The pain of suffering, untold suffering.

There was neither hint nor clue, of the terrible results,

In the glitter of love, like a mesmerized idiot,

I obeyed the lovely and undying persuasion,

Oh! My diminishing life, I was lured to passion.

All my flowery youth,

And happy memories of a brighter tomorrow,

The dreams to become a doctor, teacher, lawyer,

Have all been shattered, just like a rainstorm,

All squandered in a flash.

Oh! People of the world, could you not give a hint?

Just a hint to cheat destiny, like a good sower,

I have indeed harvested the fruits of my labour.

Though bitter, I have to bear the follies of my youth.

I did not know, I could not know,

That I had battered my life,

For a terrible gesture of life.

I am a lone walker on a busy road,

Shock, worry, confusion,

It is a long and painful journey,

I must struggle till the end.

But you! Exuberant youth,

Take note of what is repeatedly said,

‘That what sweetens the mouth, burns the tail,’

I am now a sole example, for I have burnt my tail.


Answer the following questions.

1. In the poem, we are being cautioned about ______________.

A. circumcision of the girl child

B. drug abuse

C. child labour

D. AIDS- the deadly disease.

2. ‘I did not know, I could not know, that I had battered my life.’ According to the passage, what does the writer mean?

A. The writer was not aware that his/her life was being ruined.

B. The writer was confused.

C. The writer was absent minded.

D. The writer was not bothered about anything.

3. The word ‘shattered’ in the third verse is underlined. What does it mean?

A. Gained.

B. Stolen.

C. Broken.

D. Accumulated.

4. According to the passage, the writer is _______________.

A. dead

B. ailing

C. not sick

D. healthy

5. What does the writer seem to be suffering from?

A. HIV/ AIDS B. Pneumonia

C. Malaria D. Epilepsy.



Your present life may look dull and unattractive,

Look ahead dear child,

There’s only one way you are going to get ahead of life,

If your past is filled with disappointment and your present is full of dark clouds,

Through education, your future will always be bright.

Education is the only way you can escape poverty,

It is the only way out of ignorance, the best road to achievement, and the surest way to success.

T h e r e’s no lift to success,

You must take the staircase, step by step,

You can be anything you want dear child,

Only you must double your effort in learning,

It is not where you have come from that counts,

But where you are heading to.

I have struggled to provide you with whatever you need,

I have had countless nights of sleepless anguish,

I have denied myself luxury that life can offer,

Just to ensure you are in school dear child.

Do your best always, let the sky be the limit,

Endure the sacrifice of studying dear child,

And be positively focused for ‘a better you’ tomorrow,

Through education, your future will always be bright.

Answer the following questions.

1. What does the writer mean by the statement ‘Your present is full of dark clouds’?

2. Why is education considered the only way to escape poverty?

3. ‘I have struggled to provide you with whatever you need’ who might have said these words?

4. What does the writer mean when she says ‘Let the sky be the limit’?

5. What do you think you can be in future when you excel in education?



‘School is a must’ – so every caring parent says,

I am carefully prepared and handed over to someone I do not know,

The stranger welcomes me and makes me comfortable,

I cry and wonder why my parents made such a decision – to leave me with a stranger.

Teacher, what a marvellous person you are!

Much, I do not know,

But he carefully introduces the letters of the alphabet, the vowels, two letters words,

three letter words… then sentences!

Dear teacher, you have made many succeed.

Teacher, what a marvellous person you are!

It is because of you, that I stand and praise,

No other person can stand taller than you,

For you have shown many people light at the end of a dark tunnel,

Presidents, doctors, lawyers, engineers, pilots, name them,

All have passed through your tender and loving care.

Teacher, what a marvellous person you are!

I stand firm to praise you the more,

You are a precious gift to the society,

Many people do not know how great you are,

Instead, they despise, ridicule and insult you,

They forget to know that they are what they are today because of you.

Teacher, what a marvellous person you are!

Answer the following questions.

1. In the poem, who do you think prepares the writer?

A. teachers

B. parents

C. pupils

D. relatives.

2. Why is the teacher considered a marvellous person?

A. A teacher is a well- known person.

B. A teacher is gentle and kind.

C. The teacher loves children and adults.

D. The teacher has helped many people to succeed in life.

3. The following have been shown light by the teacher except ______________.

A. doctors and lawyers

B. presidents and engineers

C. engineers and pilots

D. touts and shoemakers

4. What do some people do instead of appreciating the teacher?

A. despise, ridicule and insult.

B. praise and encourage.

C. appreciate, ridicule, praise.

D. imitate, organize, promote.

5. ‘No one can stand taller than you’ this statement refers to the _________.

A. lawyer B. teacher

C. pilot D. doctor


Female Genital Mutilation

It was a great day indeed,

We beamed with joy, ear to ear we smiled,

We felt great, we walked tall,

We stood before other people,

And confidently announced how we were now ‘great ladies’

Yes! Great ladies, ladies of substance, ladies so rare!

Oh! How wrong we were!

With our outdated and unproductive custom,

Our pronouncement of how great we were,

Was met with disgust and dismay, followed by great laughter,

Yes! Laughter that was rib-cracking, laughter that was infectious,

Laughter that echoed through the mighty eucalyptus woods.

‘Mmm – great ladies’ how primitive and backward!

They wondered loudly,

Majority widened their eyes in astonishment,

Others shook their heads in disbelief,

‘Don’t you people know the dangers?

Carry out research, they challenged us.

The sickening gestures said it all,

We felt devastated and frustrated,

Surprise, dismay and horror occupied the better part of our bodies,

Our great anxiety turned into suspicion,

We had expected to earn great respect and honour.

We have watched with horror, real horror,

Dehumanizing and sickening pictures of the girl child facing the knife,

Oh little girl, writhing and groaning in pain and agony,

And finally it must happen, due to circumstances beyond her control.

We stand here today – we shall stand tomorrow,

Collectively to say, ‘No! No! No!’

Hats off to those who have struggled and are still struggling,

With sincere ability to achieve their wish,

Not to allow the girl child suffer lifetime psychological torture.

Go ahead dear brothers and sisters,

You have great teeth to bite the crusade against FGM,

Sometimes you are looked at as subject of ridicule,

But nothing should deter you from the fight,

Be determined to carry on with the battle,

And fight boldly and furiously like soldiers in a battle field.

It is indeed hard to change our culture overnight,

The dangers facing the girl child are heart-breaking,

Use every platform available, to let the world know w, understand and act fast,

Let us erase fear and worry from this little girl,

And create in her courage, confidence and a smile.

Answer the following questions.

1. What is the passage talking about?

2. Why did the writers feel great?

3. What is the meaning of the initials FGM?

4. Who is the most affected person in this passage?

5. In your own words, discuss the issues highlighted by the writers in this passage.


Wildlife poaching

Lion, wild and mighty king of the jungle,

With pointed claws and thick mane,

The beautiful long-necked spotted giraffe,

Grazing happily on the dry savannah grassland,

The black and white stripped zebra and the mighty rhinoceros,

The enormous elephant with the amazing trunk and tusks,

Now becoming fewer and fewer in number,

Because of man and his destructiveness,

Man, the terrible creature,

Destroying God’s creation.

Wild and tame animals, given to us by Mother Nature.

That we love and exercise patience on them,

But the evolution of man, the discovery of poaching,

How black-hearted we appear, when we exercise cruelty to animals!

The innocent beasts of nature yell and shriek,

Yet one by one, without mercy we destroy.

Man, the terrible creature,

Destroying God’s creation.

At any hour of day or night,

Man sets off for the forest, fully armed.

Guess what is in his mind!

Elephant tusks, rhinoceros’ skin and lions’ claws.

To make him richer and richer, day by day,

Man the terrible creature,

Destroying God’s creation.

Spare the lives of beautiful creation.

Kill not! Kill not! Kill not!

The animals are such wonderful tourist attraction,

The long hand of law should grab anyone involved in this exercise.

Only then shall we spare the precious animals,

Man the terrible creature,

Destroying God’s creation.

Answer the following questions.

1. What is the passage about?

2. What did the writer mean by ‘blackhearted’ in the passage?

3. Why do men hunt some wild animals?

4. What are the benefits of wild animals?

5. What should happen to anyone who harms wild animals?

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