Monday, March 12th, 2014.

Please adhere to the class agenda below.


A Pinch of Salt

by Robert Graves

When a dream is born in you

With a sudden clamorous pain

When you know the dream is true

And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,

5 O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch

You’ll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

Dreams are like a bird that mocks,

Flirting the feathers of his tail.

When you seize at the salt-box,

10 Over the hedge you’ll see him sail.

Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:

They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

Poet, never chase the dream.

Laugh yourself, and turn away.

15 Mask your hunger; let it seem

Small matter if he come or stay;

But when he nestles in your hand at last,

Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.

Directions: Please choose the correct letter choice and write beside your choice what line in the poem makes your response sufficient.

17) Based on the first two lines, what can be inferred about the speaker’s experience with dreams?

A It has been agonizing.

B It has been ecstatic.

C It has been amusing.

D It has been confusing.

18) What is the impact of line 6 on the meaning of the poem?

A It encourages poets to write about pain and suffering.

B It describes how painful dreams can be.

C It highlights how special dreams are to a person.

D It warns poets not to hold on to their dreams too tightly.

19) What does the simile in lines 7–8 mean?

A Dreams are pretty like a bird’s tail feathers.

B Dreams are like a bird that talks too much.

C Dreams are like birds that are arrogantly beautiful.

D Dreams are like birds that pull out their tail feathers.

20) In the last stanza, who is “he” referring to?

A the poet’s ideas

B the poet’s dreams

C the poet’s bird

D the poet’s life

21) In the selection, how does the bird contribute to the theme?

A It symbolizes the hope that dreams can give to a person.

B It symbolizes how quickly dreams can be crushed.

C It symbolizes how dreams can escape a person.

D It symbolizes how clever dreams can be.

22) What is the meaning of the poem’s extended metaphor?

A Dreams can be easily ruined with a pinch of salt.

B Dreams must be chased and attacked until one finally catches them.

C Many times one thinks one has a dream, but then it flies away.

D One must wait patiently and seize the proper moment to fulfill one’s dreams.

Class Assignment

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