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Flower on the Road by Chitra Padmanabhan

“Flower on the Road” is a children’s poem written by poet Chitra Padmanabhan. What can be more pleasing than flowers we see on the road? Two flowers in the poem talk with one another on the road during springtime. Padmanabhan is a veteran journalist working in the field for more than thirty-five years and is currently associated with Pitara, “a chest full of surprises,” dedicated to children’s writings, such as poems, short stories, etc. A number of her writings are used in children’s textbooks.

One often wonders how to capture a child’s imagination. A child’s mental landscape is quite different from that of adults. To be interesting enough to weigh on a child’s mind, a poem must be filled with many appealing images. Children’s writing is different; therefore, more vibrant, more descriptive, and full of vivid imagery that can work a kid’s short attention span. Readers can find such features in Padmanabhan’s beautiful little piece.

  • Read the full text of “Flower on the Road” below:
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Flower on the Road
by Chitra Padmanabhan

Spring has come,
said the bougainvillea
Crimson, orange, cream
and yellow
Making a flower wall
along the road
I bring happiness
to all.
Wait, said the
little flower
on the edge of the kerb
I, too, blossom
though I am small
Every now and then
a little child walks past,
sees me
at her height
And happily smiles.
Doesn’t that make us comrades
on the road!
Analysis of Flower on the Road by Chitra Padmanabhan


Summary

Chitra Padmanabhan’s poem “Flower on the Road” begins with the scene of springtime. The bougainvillea in different colors, crimson, orange, cream, and yellow, adorn a wall making it a “flower wall” along the road for all passers-by to witness. Flowers are a sight that brings happiness to the minds of whoever happens to chance across them. No wonder the bougainvillea is proud, and it boasts of its capabilities to make people happy.

A little flower, almost unnoticeable, blooms along the edge (“kerb”) of the road and speaks out with strength despite its common qualities. It says that although it is small, often a little child notices it and smiles, seeing it “at her height.” Despite being small, the little flower also manages to impart happiness.

Therefore, the little flower and bougainvillea are comrades in their journey on the road where they bloom and share their hearts’ joy. Two flowers blooming and conversing with one another is the adorable subject matter of “Flower on the Road” that definitely captures the imagination of the little ones with its vibrancy and simplicity.

Form, Rhyme Scheme, & Meter

“Flower on the Road” consists of a total of 20 lines with just three complete sentences. Those sentences are divided into separate lines across the text. Having no separate stanza breaks, the lines of the poem are joined altogether. Written in free-verse, the poem has no fixed rhyme scheme or meter as such. However, readers can find a rhyming in words, “wall” (line 5), “all” (line 8), and “small” (line 13).

The two speakers of the poem are two flowers: the bougainvillea growing on a roadside wall of a garden and the other one raising its tiny little head on the edge of a roadside stone. Padmanabhan writes this piece from the third-person point of view, where readers see the events of the poem unfold in front of their eyes objectively from another omniscient speaker’s perspective. Besides, the statements of the flowers are in first-person, which gives this poem a lyrical quality.

Poetic Devices & Figures of Speech

Padmanabhan uses the following figures of speech in her poem “Flower on the Road”:

Personification

The two flowers in the poem: the bougainvillea and the little flower, are personified or given human-like qualities, such as speaking. Personification is assigning human characteristics to non-human beings, objects, and abstract concepts. In the first line, the speaker begins by saying that the bougainvillea said something. Flowers naturally do not speak, but the little flower talks about the little child that notices it blossoming and smiles. Hence, the human capability of speech is attributed to the flowers.

Enjambment

Certain lines of the poem are enjambed together. Line 8 and line 18 do end with full stops, but the thought continues onto the following lines. The same happens with line 19. The usage of this device force readers to go to the next line and so on. It is also used to create suspense while reading the lines; readers start to think about what is going to happen next. For instance, we have to read lines 3-8 to understand bougainvillea’s point.

Crimson, orange, cream

and yellow

Making a flower wall

along the road

I bring happiness

to all.

Allegory

The flowers in the poem stand for human beings. Their conversation allegorically shows how even the little/everyday things in life contain the power to make one happy. This is the main idea of the poem. The flower saying they are “comrades” hints at the fact that human friendships can be forged even between the unlikeliest of people.

Consonance

The repetition of similar consonant sounds in closely placed words can be found in the following lines:

  • Crimson, orange, cream”
  • “I, too, blossom/ though I am small”
  • “Every now and then
  • “at her height”
  • Doesn’t that make us comrades/ on the road!”


Line-by-Line Analysis & Explanation

Lines 1-8

Spring has come,

said the bougainvillea

Crimson, orange, cream

and yellow

Making a flower wall

along the road

I bring happiness

to all.

Spring is the time of flowers. It is the time of the year, right after the winter, when nature gets adorned beautifully. During springtime, flowers become significant sources of attraction all across the world, and people visit many tourist places to see flowers in bloom exclusively. In Chitra Padmanabhan’s poem “Flower on the Road,” we can find a bougainvillea plant on a wall along a road. It blossoms in different colors. As it does so, it says it takes pride in itself for its variety of colors and the capability to make a “flower wall.” In this way, the bougainvillea brings happiness to all.

Lines 9-18

Wait, said the

little flower

on the edge of the kerb

I, too, blossom

though I am small

Every now and then

a little child walks past,

sees me

at her height

And happily smiles.

Upon hearing bougainvillea’s haughty remark, a little flower below along the edge of the road says that it blossoms too. It’s not insignificant. Whenever children pass by, they, with their big gummy smiles, appreciate this unknown, nameless flower. It is because children can witness something beautiful on the level of their height. The little flower is satisfied that it can bring a smile to a little child’s face, whereas the “flower wall” is especially appreciated by adults who love gardening. It can bring happiness to an innocent child though not being visible or glamorous as the bougainvillea.

Lines 19-20

Doesn’t that make us comrades

on the road!

Since both the flowers, despite differences, can make people who look upon them happy, does it not mean they are “comrades” on that road where they both bloom? This little poem, “Flower on the Road,” is beautiful because children can read this and get engrossed in the conversation of two beautiful flowers.

As with most children’s writing, there is always a moral the author carefully hides behind simple lines. Even the tiny, insignificant, unnoticeable things in life are as worthy of attention as the more prominent and more significant things in life. They also provide much-needed happiness. The flowers are different by nature, but they can be friends too by the shared goodness of making someone happy simply by their beautiful existence. That’s why they are true “comrades” blooming on the road.

Questions and Answers

Who is the poet of the poem “Flower on the Road”?

Chitra Padmanabhan wrote the poem “Flower on the Road.” She is a veteran Indian journalist and worked with several leading Indian dailies, such as The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, and The Pioneer. Currently, Padmanabhan is the Honorary Editor of the Pitara Kids’ Network. She wrote a number of children’s poems, stories, and features for Pitara.

How are the bougainvillea and the little flower comrades?

In “Flower on the Road,” the little flower claims to be “comrades” with the bougainvillea at the end. The little flower knows that both of them bring a smile to people’s faces. Since they share this ability, they can be called comrades on a mission to make people happy on that little road where they bloom during springtime.

What are two flowers in “Flower on the Road”?

One is the bougainvillea, and the other is a little flower. Both flowers bloom along the road during spring and bring happiness to all passing by.

Where were the bougainvillea and the little flower?

The bougainvillea and the little flower were blooming along the road.

How does the bougainvillea look?

The bougainvillea, with all its crimson, orange, cream, and yellow flowers, adorn a wall along the road.

How many colors does bougainvillea have?

The bougainvillea has four colors: crimson or red, orange, cream, and yellow.

What does bougainvillea symbolize in the poem “Flower on the Road”?

In this poem, the bougainvillea symbolizes pride, beauty, and ambition. In contrast, the little flower symbolizes innocence and humility.

Who said, “Spring has come”?

The bougainvillea said, “Spring has come,” at the beginning of the poem “Flower on the Wall.”

What did the bougainvillea say?

The bougainvillea said that the spring had come, and it brought happiness to everyone by making a flower wall along the road.

Why is the little child happy upon seeing the little flower?

The child is happy upon seeing something beautiful growing close to her reach. Since a child cannot reach the bougainvillea high above on the wall, it is happy to find a little flower blooming just about its height. It makes her smile. In the poem, both the flowers make the road beautiful during springtime.


Similar Poems with Inspiring Morals

  • The Huntsman” by Edward Lowbury — It’s about a hunter named Kagwa, who comes across a talking skull while hunting for a lion.
  • The Rock and the Bubble” by Louisa May Alcott — This poem presents a story of a proud bubble and a steadfast rock.
  • The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — This poem shows how kindness overpowers jealousy and cruelty through the metaphors of a “song” and an “arrow,” respectively.
  • Gold!” by Thomas Hood — This poem highlights both the positive and negative impact of gold on humans.
  • A Wounded Deer – leaps highest –” by Emily Dickinson — It’s about full-spirited desperation in times of dire need, for instance, while dying.


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