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Read Poetry to Analyse Meaning: 'Sonnet'

In this worksheet, students read a sonnet by John Clare. Then they analyse what issues and ideas are explored through the text.

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Understand Meaning

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

Read this sonnet by John Clare (1841).

 

 

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

Sonnet

 

I love to see the summer beaming forth

And white wool sack clouds sailing to the north

I love to see the wild flowers come again

And Mare blobs stain with gold the meadow drain

And water lilies whiten on the floods

Where reed clumps rustle like a wind shook wood

Where from her hiding place the Moor Hen pushes

And seeks her flag nest floating in bull rushes

I like the willow leaning half way o'er

The clear deep lake to stand upon its shore

I love the hay grass when the flower head swings

To summer winds and insects happy wings

That sport about the meadow the bright day

And see bright beetles in the clear lake play

 

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

 

 

Now we will go through some questions on the sonnet. If you need to read it again, you can do so by clicking on the Help button.

This poem is a type of poem called a sonnet.

 

Which of the following statements are true of sonnets? Tick three boxes.

They have 15 lines.

They have 14 lines.

They use rhyming couplets.

Alternate lines rhyme.

They are positive poems.

Sonnets are often about love. Who or what does the writer love here?

himself

money

nature

Which season is being described in the poem?

The writer uses literary devices to explore the theme of a pleasant natural environment. When he writes: "white wool sack clouds sailing to the north" he is using several devices.

 

Which of the following is he NOT using?

alliteration

personification

metaphor

simile

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word in the text box below.

 

This poem is overwhelmingly positive; an English summer scene is described as being near perfection. The writer uses the first person to emphasise his connection with what he is experiencing, as well as repeating (three times) the word "__________" to tell us how he feels about it.

As well as being positive about what he sees, the writer also comments on what he can hear. Which word, in the sixth line, is onomatopoeic for one of the sounds of summer?

The writer uses the word "beaming", and repeats "bright". What impression do these words make on the reader?

that it is too light

that it is lovely and light outside

that he longs for sunset

Read this student's work and choose the correct quotation:

 

When the writer says "_________________", it suggests that he has been waiting all winter to experience this warm and enjoyable summer. It is one hint that we get that life isn't always so rosy and bad weather does happens sometimes.

come again

flag nest

sport about

Read this student's work and fill in the missing words.

 

Although the weather is lovely now and all of the creatures are having a great time, the hen's behaviour suggests that things have not been so positive over the winter, as she had to have a "__________ _________".

Which of the following is the best summary of the poem?

At the beginning of summer, we are happy with everything we see in nature.

Nature is always perfect.

We must prepare for the winter or nature will catch us out.

  • Question 1

This poem is a type of poem called a sonnet.

 

Which of the following statements are true of sonnets? Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
They have 14 lines.
They use rhyming couplets.
They are positive poems.
EDDIE SAYS
"Rhyming couplets" means that the last word in each line will rhyme with the one directly before or after it, then there will be a new rhyming word. e.g.
..........sky
...........pie,

An "alternate rhyme scheme" means that the rhyme skips a line. e.g.
..........sky
.............house
...........pie
...............mouse
  • Question 2

Sonnets are often about love. Who or what does the writer love here?

CORRECT ANSWER
nature
EDDIE SAYS
Throughout the sonnet, John Clare displays his love of nature. For example, "I love to see the summer beaming forth", "I love to see the wild flowers come again" and "I love the hay grass when the flower head swings".
  • Question 3

Which season is being described in the poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
summer
EDDIE SAYS
The poem describes the summer season, and Clare's love for nature during the summer.
  • Question 4

The writer uses literary devices to explore the theme of a pleasant natural environment. When he writes: "white wool sack clouds sailing to the north" he is using several devices.

 

Which of the following is he NOT using?

CORRECT ANSWER
simile
EDDIE SAYS
Alliteration: "white wool"
Personification: "sailing"
Metaphor: "wool [...] clouds"

There is no simile in this line.
  • Question 5

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word in the text box below.

 

This poem is overwhelmingly positive; an English summer scene is described as being near perfection. The writer uses the first person to emphasise his connection with what he is experiencing, as well as repeating (three times) the word "__________" to tell us how he feels about it.

CORRECT ANSWER
love
EDDIE SAYS
By repeating the word 'love', John Clare emphasises the way he feels about his surroundings and also begins to evoke this emotion in the reader, as well.
  • Question 6

As well as being positive about what he sees, the writer also comments on what he can hear. Which word, in the sixth line, is onomatopoeic for one of the sounds of summer?

CORRECT ANSWER
rustle
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'rustle', from the line 'Where reed clumps rustle like a wind shook wood', sounds like the noise that the reeds make as the wind blows through them.
  • Question 7

The writer uses the word "beaming", and repeats "bright". What impression do these words make on the reader?

CORRECT ANSWER
that it is lovely and light outside
  • Question 8

Read this student's work and choose the correct quotation:

 

When the writer says "_________________", it suggests that he has been waiting all winter to experience this warm and enjoyable summer. It is one hint that we get that life isn't always so rosy and bad weather does happens sometimes.

CORRECT ANSWER
come again
  • Question 9

Read this student's work and fill in the missing words.

 

Although the weather is lovely now and all of the creatures are having a great time, the hen's behaviour suggests that things have not been so positive over the winter, as she had to have a "__________ _________".

CORRECT ANSWER
hiding place
EDDIE SAYS
Clare describes the Moor Hen leaving her hiding place and seeking "her flag nest floating in bull rushes", suggesting that she has been hiding from danger all winter and is now able to come out and be safe.
  • Question 10

Which of the following is the best summary of the poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
At the beginning of summer, we are happy with everything we see in nature.
EDDIE SAYS
The poem suggests that the arrival of summer is always a happy time and we, like Clare, should be happy and appreciative of the beautiful natural environment that we have around us.
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