About the poet: Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi is a Pakistani poet and he has written several poems in Urdu and also in English. He was born 1916 in a small village Anga in Khushab District. He started writing poems in the late thirties. He published more that a dozen books. Some of his works have also been translated into foreign languages, winning applause for him in foreign countries.

Theme: This poem is very simple. Here the poet depicts the love of a mother bird for her young ones who are very small and only a few days old. They are in the nest. The mother sparrow goes out and brings a grain of millet in her beak to feed them. They are ten in number.

Holding a grain of millet in her beak

The mother sparrow has come to feed.

The young ones are so tiny and small

From head to toe they are beaks

When they cry.

One grain to be fed to the ten young ones

To whom the mother sparrow should feed?

Conjoining beak with beak

With whom should she solace?

Fissuring the atom,

You have learnt to weep and wall in a loud tone,

Splitting the grain,

You have learnt to set life on foot

Could you split the grain?

One grain to be fed to the ten young ones.

(Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi)

Glossary

Millet A small grain of a cereal.
Tiny small
Conjoining Joining together
Fissuring Making a narrow opening or crack
Split Break, divide

Exercises

Answer the following questions.

  1. What does the sparrow hold in her beak?
  2. Which line in the first stanza tells us that the young ones have no feathers?
  3. How many young ones are to be fed?
  4. What has the poet described in the poem?

Choose the correct answer.

What was the mother sparrow holding in her beak?

a) Wheat b) rice

c) millet d) maize

the young ones are tiny and …………..

a) big b) small

c) white d) black

how many young ones are there in the nest?

a) Three b) ten

c) Twelve d) nine

Name the bird that has come to feed her young ones.

a) Crow b) pigeon

c) Sparrow d) parrot

Read the poem and write down the missing word in each line.

i) From head to toe they are………….

ii) The mother sparrow has come to………..

iii) One grain to be fed to the ……..young ones.

Mark the statements true or false.

i) The young ones are tiny and small.

ii) They mother sparrow holds a grain of rice in her beak.

iii) The young ones do not weep and wail in a loud tone.

iv) One grain is to be fed to the six young ones.

Explain the last three lines of this poem with reference to the context.

Write a critical appreciation of the poem.

What do you feel after reading the poem?