Rain on the Roof / NCERT Solutions Class 9 English/ Summary / Literary Devices

Rain on the Roof

                                         By Coates Kinney  

When the humid shadows hover

Over all the starry spheres

And the melancholy darkness

Gently weeps in rainy tears,

What a bliss to press the pillow

 Of a cottage-chamber bed

 And lie listening to the patter

 Of the soft rain overhead!

.

 Every tinkle on the shingles

 Has an echo in the heart;

And a thousand dreamy fancies

Into busy being start,

And a thousand recollections

Weave their air-threads into woof,

As I listen to the patter

Of the rain upon the roof.

.

 Now in memory comes my mother,

 As she used in years agone,

To regard the darling dreamers

Ere she left them till the dawn:

O! I feel her fond look on me

 As I list to this refrain

 Which is played upon the shingles

 By the patter of the rain.

                                             

About the poet -COATES KINNEY

Coates Kinney(24th Nov, 1826 – 25th January 1904)  was an American poet, journalist, lawyer and a polititian. He was born in Penn Yan, New York and studied in Antioch College. He became an established poet with the publication of his poem ‘Rain on the Roof’ written in six stanzas expressing his feelings on a rainy evening as memories flood his mind.

Summary- Rain on the Roof

This poem is about the poet’s nostalgia associated with rain falling on the roof. The first stanza, gives a description of the rain falling outside his house. The dark moisture laden clouds move around in the starry sky causing shadows on earth. The darkness which causes sadness seems to be weeping which results in its tears falling from the sky as rain. Then, the poet goes on to describe his feelings on such evenings. He says that it is a blessing to be able to lie in his warm bed in his cottage listening to the pitter–patter of the rain drops falling on the roof.

In the second stanza, he says that every drop of rain that falls on the tiles on his roof finds a reverberation or echo in his heart. As he lies on his bed, a lot of thoughts flow into his head making his mind busy. He recalls things from the past and goes into a reverie. His thoughts run across his mind interweaving and creating images from the past as he listens to the rainfall.

In the third stanza, the poet recalls and cherishes the memories of his mother. He says that the sound of the rain reminds him of the time, when his dear mother used to put him and his siblings to sleep. She used to look at them lovingly while tucking them to sleep. The continuous musical sound of the falling raindrops takes him to the past and he relives the golden moments of his childhood as he listens to the rain.

Message  of the poem: Rain on the Roof

The poem gives us the message that nature and rainfall has a therapeutic effect on humans. The sound of rain brings back beautiful memories from the past as the poet recalls the soothing affection of his mother’s presence during his childhood.

Theme of the poemRain on the Roof

The theme of the poem is the healing effect of nature on humans. Mother-nature, just like all mothers, has a soothing effect on humans. Listening to the musical refrain of the rainfall brings back the loving memories of the poet’s mother in whose presence he felt comfortable and secure.

Rhyme scheme of ‘Rain on the Roof’

The rhyme scheme of the poem is abcbdefe. The second and the fourth lines rhyme and the sixth and the eighth lines rhyme.

Literary devices used in ‘Rain on the Roof’

Alliteration –  (Repetition of the consonant sound)

                          humid clouds hover,

                         starry spheres

                         press the pillow

                         cottage- chamber

                         lie-listening

                         busy being

                         their air-threads

                         rain on the roof

                         memory comes my mother

                         darling dreamers

                         them till

Transferred epithet- ( When an adjective is used to describe a noun but it actually refers to another noun)

                        Melancholy darkness – here the darkness is not sad but the people are.

                        Dreamy fancies – here the person is dreamy and not the fancies.

Onomatopoiea – words formed from the sound it represents used for literary effect

                        Patter – sound of rain drops

                        Tinkle – sound of raindrops in the shingles or the tiles of the roof.

Personification – (human characteristics given to inanimate objects)

                        Darkness is melancholy and weeping like a sad person.

                        Recollections are weaving air-threads like a weaver.

Hyperbole –  (exaggerated statements)

                      a thousand recollections

                      a thousand dreamy fancies   

GlossaryRain on the Roof

humid: full of moisture

shadows: (here) moisture laden clouds which cause shadows

hover: move around something

melancholy: sad

bliss: happiness

patter: sound of raindrops

Cottage chamber: room in a cottage

tinkle: short, light ringing sounds

shingles: rectangular wooden tiles used on roofs

woof: weft, i.e. the threads woven across the loom

busy being: the poet refers to his busy mind

ere: old poetic word for ‘before’

refrain: a repeated part of a song or a poem; here, the sound of the rain

list: old poetic word for ‘listen’

Thinking about the Poem / Question- Answers Rain on the Roof

I. 1. What do the following phrases mean to you? Discuss in class.
(i) humid shadows

Humid shadows refer to the moisture laden dark clouds which cause shadows on the earth. It may also refer to the shadows of people and objects which become wet when the rain falls.

(ii) starry spheres

The starry spheres refer to the night sky full of stars. Sometimes they are seen in clusters twinkling in the night sky.

(iii) what a bliss

The poet feels happy when he listens to the raindrops falling on the roof as he relaxes in his cozy bed.

(iv) a thousand dreamy fancies into busy being start

When he listens to the sound of raindrops, numerous thoughts flow into his mind and he finds himself lost in sweet reveries from the past.

(v) a thousand recollections weave their air-threads into woof

The poet recollects numerous memories from the past as he hears the rain fall. He compares his interweaving of thoughts with a weft which is woven with colourful air- threads.

2. What does the poet like to do when it rains?

Ans. When it rains, the poet likes to lie on his bed pressing on his pillow, and listen to the pitter-patter of the raindrops falling on  the shingles of his cottage.

3. What is the single major memory that comes to the poet? Who are the “darling dreamers” he refers to?

Ans. The memory of his loving mother is the single major memory that comes to his mind. He recollects the sweet moments when he felt loved and secure under his mother’s shelter.

 The ‘darling dreamers’ refer to the poet and his siblings when they were children. It refers to the time when their mother lovingly put them to a relaxing sleep with sweet dreams till the dawn.

4. Is the poet now a child? Is his mother still alive?

Ans. No, the poet is no longer a child. He has become an adult.

His mother is possibly no longer alive and had died a long time ago. Her memories make him nostalgic and he misses her badly.

II. 1. When you were a young child, did your mother tuck you in, as the poet’s did?

Ans. Yes, my mother too used to tuck me lovingly to bed when I was a child, just like the poet’s mother.

2. Do you like rain? What do you do when it rains steadily or heavily as described in the poem?

Ans.  Yes, I love to see and hear the rainfall.

 I like to play indoor games and enjoy hot snacks and drinks when it rains outside.

3. Does everybody have a cosy bed to lie in when it rains? Look around you and describe how different kinds of people or animals spend time, seek shelter etc. during rain.

Ans. Unfortunately, everybody does not have the priviledge of lying in a cosy bed when it rains. The deprived  and the homeless suffer a lot when it rains. Birds and animals find it hard to find shelter from the rain and are seen soaked and shivering in the rain.

Q. Compare the poems ‘Rain on the Roof’ and ‘Wind’. What are the similarities and differences that you find in these two poems?

Ans. The poems ‘Rain on the Roof’ and ‘Wind’ are both based on nature. Both the poets have drawn inspiration from their past and reflected their thoughts in these poems.

The poems are different from the perspective from which the poets have viewed or perceived nature. While the rain evokes gentle memories and brings comfort to the poet, the wind is violent and destroys lives. While in the poem ‘Wind’ the poet advices the readers to be prepared against adversities, there is no such message conveyed through the poem ‘Rain on the Roof’.   

Rain on the Roof – (Full poem)

Coates Kinney

 When the humid shadows hover

 Over all the starry spheres

 And the melancholy darkness

 Gently weeps in rainy tears,

 What a bliss to press the pillow

 Of a cottage-chamber bed

 And lie listening to the patter

 Of the soft rain overhead!

.

  Every tinkle on the shingles

  Has an echo in the heart;

  And a thousand dreamy fancies

  Into busy being start,

  And a thousand recollections

  Weave their air-threads into woof,

  As I listen to the patter

  Of the rain upon the roof.

.

Now in memory comes my mother,

 As she used in years agone,

To regard the darling dreamers

Ere she left them till the dawn:

O! I feel her fond look on me

 As I list to this refrain

 Which is played upon the shingles

 By the patter of the rain.

.

Then my little seraph sister,

With the wings and waving hair,

And her star-eyed cherub brother

A serene angelic pair!

Glide around my wakeful pillow,

With their praise or mild reproof,

As I listen to the murmur

 Of the soft rain on the roof.

.

And another comes, to thrill me

With her eyes’ delicious blue;

And I mind not, musing on her,

That her heart was all untrue:

I remember but to love her

With a passion kin to pain,

And my heart’s quick pulses vibrate

To the patter of the rain.

.

Art hath naught of tone or cadence

That can work with such a spell

In the soul’s mysterious fountains,

Whence the tears of rapture well,

As that melody of nature,

That subdued, subduing strain

Which is played upon the shingles

By the patter of the rain.