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Read and Understand Poetry: 'From a Railway Carriage'

In this worksheet, students read the poem 'From a Railway Carriage' by Robert Louis Stevenson and answer questions on it.

'Read and Understand Poetry: 'From a Railway Carriage'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Identify Text Meaning

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author who was born in 1850 and died in 1894. He is famous for writing books such as Treasure Island but he also wrote a lot of poetry.

One of his best-known poems is called 'From a Railway Carriage'. Read it through several times to make sure you understand it.

 

 

*******************

From a Railway Carriage

 

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;

And charging along like troops in a battle,

All through the meadows the horses and cattle:

All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly as thick as driving rain;

And ever again, in the wink of an eye,

Painted stations whistle by.

 

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,

All by himself and gathering brambles;

Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;

And there is the green for stringing the daisies!

Here is the cart run away in the road

Lumping along with man and load;

And here is a mill, and there is a river:

Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

 

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In this activity, you can answer questions about the poem. Remember that you can look back at it as often as you like by clicking the Help button.

What is the poem about? Choose the sentence that best sums up its meaning.

The poem warns about the dangers of travelling by train.

The poem describes what can be seen through the windows of a moving train.

The poem compares travelling by train with travelling by car.

It is important to read the poem aloud and feel its rhythm. Click on the Help button and read the poem out loud a few times, concentrating on the beat and rhythm.

 

Why did Robert Louis Stevenson choose this rhythm for the poem?

It makes it easier to read.

It sounds like a train travelling.

There was probably no reason why he chose this rhythm.

Is the poem a rhyming or a non-rhyming poem?

It is a rhyming poem, as some of the lines rhyme.

It is a rhyming poem. Pairs of lines rhyme with each other.

It is a non-rhyming poem.

The poem describes what can be seen from a window as the train rushes through the countryside. It was written in the nineteenth century, before fast cars and aeroplanes were invented, so train travel would have seemed very fast and exciting.

 

In the first line Robert Louis Stevenson makes the speed of the train seem magical by comparing it with witches. What other magical creature does he mention?

Similes are a way of describing something by comparing it with something else. The words as...as are often used.

 

Read the poem again and copy out the line containing a simile.

 

All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly ____________________________.

A simile sometimes makes comparisons using the word like... rather than as...as.

Find the line in the poem that contains this type of simile and copy it into the answer box. Remember to type it as it appears in the poem.

The only other type of transport mentioned in the poem is a cart, which is a slow way of travelling because it needs to be pulled by a horse or a person. What word is used to show that the cart moves slowly?

The poem ends with this line:

 

Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

 

What does this mean?

You can have a good look at everything but you won't see it again.

You can look at things over and over again through the train window.

You only get a quick look at things and then you will never seen them again.

  • Question 1

What is the poem about? Choose the sentence that best sums up its meaning.

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem describes what can be seen through the windows of a moving train.
EDDIE SAYS
The poem describes what can be seen from the windows of a train that is travelling quickly through the countryside.
  • Question 2

It is important to read the poem aloud and feel its rhythm. Click on the Help button and read the poem out loud a few times, concentrating on the beat and rhythm.

 

Why did Robert Louis Stevenson choose this rhythm for the poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
It sounds like a train travelling.
EDDIE SAYS
The rhythm of the words in each line sounds like a train travelling quickly along the tracks.
  • Question 3

Is the poem a rhyming or a non-rhyming poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
It is a rhyming poem. Pairs of lines rhyme with each other.
EDDIE SAYS
Each pair of consecutive lines (lines that follow each other with no other lines in between) rhyme. These are called rhyming couplets.
  • Question 4

The poem describes what can be seen from a window as the train rushes through the countryside. It was written in the nineteenth century, before fast cars and aeroplanes were invented, so train travel would have seemed very fast and exciting.

 

In the first line Robert Louis Stevenson makes the speed of the train seem magical by comparing it with witches. What other magical creature does he mention?

CORRECT ANSWER
fairies
fairy
EDDIE SAYS
Stevenson gives the impression that the train is magical because it is faster than creatures that don't even exist.
  • Question 5

Similes are a way of describing something by comparing it with something else. The words as...as are often used.

 

Read the poem again and copy out the line containing a simile.

 

All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly ____________________________.

CORRECT ANSWER
Fly as thick as driving rain.
as thick as driving rain
EDDIE SAYS
Stevenson makes it sound like it is the horses and cattle on the hills and plains that are moving rather than the train.
  • Question 6

A simile sometimes makes comparisons using the word like... rather than as...as.

Find the line in the poem that contains this type of simile and copy it into the answer box. Remember to type it as it appears in the poem.

CORRECT ANSWER
And charging along like troops in a battle,
And charging along like troops in a battle
EDDIE SAYS
The things seen from the window are compared to soldiers making a charge. Again, this suggests that they are moving fast.
  • Question 7

The only other type of transport mentioned in the poem is a cart, which is a slow way of travelling because it needs to be pulled by a horse or a person. What word is used to show that the cart moves slowly?

CORRECT ANSWER
lumping
Lumping
EDDIE SAYS
This is a strange word to use, but it contrasts with the fast-moving train.
  • Question 8

The poem ends with this line:

 

Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

 

What does this mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
You only get a quick look at things and then you will never seen them again.
EDDIE SAYS
A 'glimpse' is a quick look at something.
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