Thinking about the Poem

1. What are the things the wind does in the first stanza?


In the first stanza, the windbreaks the shutters of the windows, scatters the papers, throws down the books on the shelf, tears the pages of books and brings rain.

2. Have you seen anybody winnow grain at home or in a paddy field? What is the word in your language for winnowing? What do people use for winnowing? (Give the words in your language, if you know them.)


Students are recommended to answer this question based on their experience. They may use the following hints.In our homes we carry out the simple practice of winnowing when we need to separate chaff, insects, stones etc from the grains. We place the grains in a sieve and blow on them.

I have seen villagers winnowing paddy using forks or fans in paddy fields. People use winnowing fans, and winnowing forks or shovels to separate husk and straw from grains.
In Indian villages the winnowing fork or the winnowing fan, also called chhaaj in Hindi, is used for winnowing.  

  • I speak _________ language at home.
  • Winnowing is called _______ in my language.

3. What does the poet say the wind god winnows?


The wind god winnows and crumbles all the frail crumbling houses, doors, rafters, wood, bodies, lives and hearts. He crushes them all as if trying to separate the weak (like the chaff) from the strong (like the grain).

4. What should we do to make friends with the wind?


Since the wind makes fun of all that is weak, we need to make friends with him by building strong homes with firm doors. We should also make ourselves physically and mentally strong by building strong, firm bodies and having steadfast hearts.

5. What do the last four lines of the poem mean to you?


The last four lines tell us that the wind does not like weaklings.  He blows out a weak fire but intensifies a strong one and allows it to roar and flourish.

In the course of our lives, we often confront difficult situations that test our fortitude. There are two ways to approach them: by being cowardly and lamenting about the misfortune, or by taking the bull by its horns and braving the trials. The wind is seen by the poet as a hard taskmaster who destroys the weak fire and fuels the strong one.

Likewise, by giving us difficult trials, the challenges in life prepare us for any hardships we may face. It is life’s way of selecting the worthy ones for its journey.The lines are also reminiscent of a powerful quote by Sherriyln Kenyon.

The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell “The four lines tell us that instead of cowering down in fear, we should treat our adversities like friends.

6. How does the poet speak to the wind — in anger or with humour? You must also have seen or heard of the wind “crumbling lives”. What is your response to this? Is it like the poet’s?


The poet speaks to the wind with anger.Yes, strong winds are known to cause plenty of damage and destruction to both life and property.Storms, cyclones, gales and strong winds cause havoc on land. They uproot trees, bring down houses, tear down electric posts and claim lives.

They also cause damage to boats and frighten the poor sailors and fishermen out at sea.Yet, I do not agree with the poet that the wind only ‘crumbles lives’. The wind is responsible for bringing rain; it cools the land and makes the climate pleasant.

Today, wind energy is harnessed for several useful purposes including turning windmills, wind turbines and generating electricity.

II. The poem you have just read is originally in the Tamil. Do you know any such poems in your language?


In English there is a beautiful poem about the wind titled “The wind” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It begins with “I saw you toss the kites on high and blow the birds about the sky…