Triantiwontigongolope – C J Dennis
There’s a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn’t quite a spider, and it isn’t quite a fly;
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you’ll learn it soon, I hope.
It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn’t there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you snear at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
But of course you haven’t seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven’t seen it either, and I don’t know its address.
For there isn’t such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It’s just a little joke of mine, which you’ll forgive, I hope.
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Meanings of difficult words:
spy: observe or watch without anyone knowing about it.
woolly: as soft as wool
grub: baby insect
weeds: plants that grow at unwanted places
wattle gum: sap that comes out from the bark of a tree.
appetite: desire for food
mope: feel sad and dejected
tremble: shake it fright
tickle: to touch someone in such a way that a person feels funny
tread: walk or stamp
snobbish: slightly turned up
scuttle: run off
purr: animal sound especially from the cat family
confess: admit about something
Central Idea / Theme:
Be creative and imaginative.
The poet C.J.Dennis, is trying to describe and tell us about an insect. He says that the insect is very funny but at the same time warns us that nobody wants to spy such an insect. Here we understand that little children are curious about strange insects and they often try to find out what kind of insect it is by touching or picking it up and watching it closely.
The poet begins the poem by telling us that he has seen a funny insect that you do not try to observe. He is warning us not to spy upon it. The poet then tries to describe the insect to us by saying that it is not like a spider or a fly but it resembles a beetle and is little bit like a bee. Further, he says that it is not like a woolly grub that climbs a tree. And the poet says that the name of the insect is difficult but assures us that we will learn its pronunciation soon. We can try to say the name by breaking it into its syllable Tri-anti-wonti-gongo-lope.
The poet tells us that the insect eats weeds and wattle gum, and has a funny face. It has a big appetite which means that it eats a lot of food but its manners are disgraceful, that is, it does not display good manners. And when you happen to see it for the first time, you will get scared of it, and you may turn your face or run away. But when you look for it again you will not find it. The poet also tells us that it will only come out of its hiding place only if you called out in a soft and gentle voice otherwise it will stay away from us and feel sad and dejected. We should call out its name softly by saying Tri-anti-wonti-gongo-lope.
The insect starts to shake with fright if you tickle it or walk on its toes. The poet is telling us that this insect is not an early riser i.e. you will not see it early in the morning and it has a slightly turned up nose. If you tease it or scold it, it will run off in shame. But if you call out its name then it will make the purring sound and come proudly towards you. So the poet is telling us to try saying its name Tri-anti-wonti-gongo-lope.
The poet tells us that he is sure that we have never seen such an insect. He wants to confess something to us that he too has never seen the insect and does not know where it lives. And the poet further discloses to us that there is no such insect but admits to us that such an insect would be real only if the trees and grass were purple and the sky was bottle-green in colour. At the end he begs for forgiveness because he just played a little prank on us by describing an imaginative insect. But he hopes that we will still make an attempt to try pronouncing the name Tri-anti-wonti-gongo-lope.
Things to do:
1. Read the poem aloud using proper intonation.
2. Note that we say ‘its appetite’, its manners and not ‘it’s appetite’ or ‘it’s manners’.
‘It’s’ means ‘It is’ and ‘its’ means ‘ belonging to it’.
(1) Is the insect described in the poem a real insect? Think about an imaginary creature.
Ans. No, the insect described in the poem is not a real insect but it is a creation of the poet’s imagination.
My imaginary creature would be a mix between a horse and a bird. It would have a strong horse’s body and great, powerful wings which could take me to different places in no time.
(2) Think of other funny names for imaginary creatures. Write any 3 of them.
Ans: (i) horitori (ii) ponziwob (iii) burbpurb
1) What is rhyme scheme of the poem ‘Triantiwontigongolope’?
Rhyme Scheme: aabbcc
There’s a very…I hope.
1) Which insects does the creature resemble?
Ans: The creature resembles a little like a bee and a beetle.
2) Which creature does it not resemble?
Ans: The creature doesn’t resemble a spider, a fly or a woolly grub.
3) How is it’s name?
Ans. The name of this insect is difficult to pronounce. It is quite long.
4) Write does the poet hope?
Ans. The poet hopes that we will soon learn the name of the insect.
5) Write the rhyming words from the stanza.
Ans. Spy – fly, bee – tree
It lives on weeds……. Stay away and mope.
1) On what does the insect live on?
Ans. The insect lives on weeds and wattle-gum.
2) How is its appetite?
Ans. It has a hearty appetite.
3) How are its manners?
Ans: Its manners are disgraceful.
4) How will you feel when you first see it?
Ans. You will get scared when you first see it.
5) Write rhyming words from the stanza.
Ans: face – disgrace, scare – there.
It trembles… sealing wax and soap.
1) When does the insect tremble?
Ans: It trembles if you tickle it or tread up its toes.
2) What happens if you sneer or scold it?
Ans: If you sneer or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame.
3) When will the insect scuttle off in shame?
Ans: If you sneer t it or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame.
4) What does the insect do if you call it by its name?
Ans: The insect purrs and purrs proudly if you call it by its name.
5) Write rhyming words from the stanza.
Ans: toes-nose; shame-name; soap-lope
But of course ……… forgive, I hope.
1) Why does the poet not know the insect’s address?
Ans: The poet does not know the insect’s address because he has never seen it.
2) Does the insect exist? If not, why?
Ans: No, the insect does not exist because the poet imagined it.
3) According to the poet, where would the insect have existed?
Ans: The insect would have existed if the trees and grass were purple and the sky was bottle green.
4) Write about an imaginary creature in 2-3 sentences.
Ans: My imaginary creature would be a mix between a horse and a bird. It would have a strong horse’s body and great, powerful wings which could take me to different places in no time.
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