Question 1. What do you notice about the beginning and the ending of the poem?
Answer : The first line of the poem is, ‘‘The laburnum top is silent, and the last line is, ‘‘And the laburnum subsides to empty’’. The entire activity of goldfinch is responsible for the laburnum tree to become vibrant. Goldfinch is not there in the beginning and flies away in the end, leaving laburnum silent, just the way it was in the beginning.
Question 2. To what is the bird’s movement compared? What is the basis for this comparison?
Answer : The bird’s movement is compared to that of a lizard. Both are sleek, alert and abrupt. This is why, the comparison is very apt and convincing.
Question 3. Why is the image of the engine evoked by the poet?
Answer : The engine produces a variety of sounds. It starts with a different sound and slowly changes to a different sound. The constant chirrupings and trillings of the goldfinch evoke the same effect.
Question 4. What do you like the most about the poem?
Answer : I like the use of sound words and movement words the most in the poem. The abundance of sound words such as twitching, chirrupings, chitterings, trillings make the poem endearing to me. Similarly, movement words–fallen, a startlement, trembles, stokes–give the poem an entirely different shade.
Question 5. What does the phrase, ‘‘her barred face identity mask’’ mean?
Answer : The striped face of the goldfinch is its mask. She remains hidden in ‘thickness’ and her striped face makes her recognisable, and this face becomes her identity mark.