Poem Activity

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Paper Boats

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Poem Activity

Have fun with the poem by trying this...

Have you ever made a paper boat and floated it down a stream or river? This poem about a child doing this was written by a very famous poet who came from the Bengal region of India. A “shiuli flower” is beautiful and fragrant and popular in Bengal. “Lading” at the end is another word for cargo.

Making and launching the little boats is something the child does “day by day” and it seems like the boats are full of the child’s hopes and dreams. Try to capture the calm, dreamy atmosphere and emphasise the simple descriptions of what the child is seeing and thinking.

Listen to the sounds created by words like “bloom”, “sky”, “air”, “stream” and “dreams”. Try stretching the vowel sounds to make these words linger in the air. The long lines have a calm feel to them too. Slow down and enjoy each one's tranquil sound and movement.

Find out how to make a paper boat that floats. Write your own poem on it. If you don’t have ponds or streams near you, try it out in the sink or bath tonight!

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Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running stream.
In big black letters I write my name on them and the name of
the village where I live.

I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and
know who I am.

I load my little boats with shiuli flowers from our garden, and hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land in the night.
I launch my paper boats and look up into the sky and see the little clouds setting their white bulging sails.
I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends them down the air to race with my boats!
When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars.
The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading is their baskets full of dreams.

Paper Boats

by Rabindranath Tagore