You are on page 1of 3


Drawing poetry

Child On Top Of the Greenhouse (Theodore Roethke)

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,

My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up though the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
A few white clouds all rushing eastwards,
A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,
And everyone, everyone, pointing up and shouting!

a. Look up Greenhouse in the dictionary. Its meaning

will help you to understand the poem better.
Glass building for growing plants.
b. Who is the poetic persona in the poem? Who is addressing?
The writer and the addressing is the reader
c. Where is the child? What is he wearing?
The child is on the top of the Greenhouse and he is wearing a trouser.
d. What time of the year is it? What is there in the poem which
makes you think so? I think that is autumn because in the poem I
can read The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like
accusers and I know that the chrysanthemums start to bloom
during th autumn.

e. What is the weather like? Try to be as specific as possible. I think

that the time is sunny.
f. Is there any action taking place in this poem?
Wind billowing,feet crackling,crysabthemus staring,glass
flashing,clouds rushing, elms pluning and tossing,everyone poiting
up and shouting up
g. Is it in the past or is it
happening now? If you are not
sure It can be in the past or it
can be in the present
h. Underline verbs. Could you add something to them so that
they can indicate the action is happening now / in the past?
Think of the effect. The verb to be

i. Write a brief story telling what is/was happening in this poem?

A boy sees a bird flying around the yard so he climbs up on top of the
house and jumps off to try and fly himself. Can he fly? Of coarse he cant.
But this poem is about the few short seconds from the time the boy jumps
and the time he realizes that he cant fly. The few seconds where the child
doesnt know if he can fly or not, that time were everything seems possible
to the child. That short time is what it means to be a child. Children have
the ability to do or say anything because they havent fully grasped the
concept of the universe. They dont know that they cannot fly because they
havent tried or have been told that they cant. This is what Roethke was
trying to show us by leaving this poem up for interpretation. That like this
poem and like a child sometimes we must ignore the rules of the universe.
If we are capable of doing that we can do anything, just like a child.

j. Draw a picture trying to represent everything described in this



1. What does Whitla mean by stating that all reading positions are
theoretical, all readers have assumptions (p.176)? Being aware of them
can increase and deepen our modes of analysis and increase the scope
and pleasure of our responses.

2.Despite differences over time, How is poetry defined? (176)

We can hazard some generalizations about poetry as a special form of
3.What does Whitla mean by stating that poetic formal conventions are
also ideological conventions? (178)

4.What have been the consequences of the increasing attention writers

other than canon great poets have been receiving over the last decades?
Has changued the ways in which literary history can be read while
the poets in the traditional canon are being re-read in the light of
the new additions.In the field of language,the contributions of
semiotics,structuralism,and deconstruction have modified how
poetry is read.