'Kitten And Falling Leaves, The' by William Wordsworth

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That way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves---one---two---and three---
From the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending,---
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
---But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!
First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now---now one---
Now they stop and there are none
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!
'Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this orchard's narrow space,
And this vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in bands
Travelled into distant lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighborhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.
Where is he that giddy Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colors bright,
Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree;
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out;
Hung---head pointing towards the ground---
Fluttered, perched, into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen!
Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of Him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighboring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy:
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety ?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature;
Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show,
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks,---
Spreads with such a living grace
O'er my little Dora's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair!
And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
---Pleased by any random toy;
By a kitten's busy joy,
Or an infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought,
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Kitten and Falling Leaves: A Poetic Interpretation

William Wordsworth, the famous English Romantic poet, has left an indelible mark on the world of literature with his exquisite and evocative portrayals of nature. In his poem "Kitten and Falling Leaves," Wordsworth beautifully captures the essence of autumn and its fleeting beauty. This literary criticism and interpretation aims to delve into the themes, imagery, and language used in the poem to understand its deeper meaning.

The Theme of Transience

At the core of "Kitten and Falling Leaves" lies the theme of transience. The poem is an ode to the fleeting beauty of autumn, a season that is often associated with change, loss, and decay. The poem begins with the image of a playful kitten chasing after falling leaves, a scene that is both innocent and whimsical. However, as the poem progresses, we are reminded of the impermanence of this moment, and by extension, of life itself.

The leaves, which were once vibrant and colorful, have now lost their luster and are slowly falling to the ground. The kitten, too, will eventually grow old and lose its playful spirit. In this way, Wordsworth captures the bittersweet nature of life, where joy and beauty are often accompanied by the awareness of their fleetingness. As readers, we are left with a sense of wistfulness, as we are reminded of the inevitability of change and the passing of time.

Imagery and Language

Wordsworth's use of imagery and language in "Kitten and Falling Leaves" is masterful, evoking a vivid and sensory experience for readers. He describes the leaves as "yellow and black and pale and hectic red," emphasizing their vibrant colors and the contrast between life and decay. The use of the word "hectic" adds a sense of urgency and chaos to the scene, as if the leaves are in a frenzy before they fall to the ground.

Similarly, the description of the kitten as "pouncing" and "bounding" creates a sense of energy and playfulness. The use of the word "livelong" to describe the day adds to this sense of vitality and the sense of the moment being alive and full of potential. The contrast between the kitten and the falling leaves highlights the fleeting nature of the scene, and the transience of life itself.

The Role of Nature

Nature plays a central role in all of Wordsworth's poetry, and "Kitten and Falling Leaves" is no exception. The poem celebrates the beauty of nature, while also acknowledging its impermanence. The falling leaves, the playful kitten, and the changing seasons are all part of the natural world, and by extension, a reminder of the cycle of life and death.

Wordsworth also suggests that nature has the ability to evoke emotions and feelings in us, and that these emotions are often bittersweet. The beauty of the autumn leaves, for example, is tinged with sadness, as we know that they will soon wither and die. Similarly, the innocence and playfulness of the kitten are a reminder of the fleeting nature of childhood and youth.


In "Kitten and Falling Leaves," Wordsworth captures the essence of autumn and its fleeting beauty. The poem reminds us of the transience of life, and the bittersweet moments that come with it. Wordsworth's use of imagery and language creates a vivid and sensory experience for readers, and his celebration of nature highlights its beauty and power. As readers, we are left with a sense of longing and melancholy, as we are reminded of the inevitability of change and the passing of time.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Kitten And Falling Leaves: A Masterpiece by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, one of the greatest poets of the Romantic era, is known for his deep love for nature and his ability to capture its beauty in his poetry. His poem "Poetry Kitten And Falling Leaves" is a perfect example of his mastery of the art of poetry. In this 14-line poem, Wordsworth paints a vivid picture of a kitten playing with falling leaves, and in doing so, he explores the themes of innocence, joy, and the transience of life.

The poem begins with the image of a kitten playing with falling leaves. The kitten is described as "sportive" and "wild," and the leaves are "yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red." The use of these adjectives creates a sense of movement and energy, as if the kitten is chasing the leaves and the leaves are dancing around the kitten. The image of the kitten and the leaves is a perfect representation of the innocence and joy that can be found in nature.

Wordsworth then goes on to describe the scene in more detail, saying that the leaves "dance, and tumble, and play" around the kitten. This personification of the leaves gives them a life of their own, as if they are also enjoying the game with the kitten. The use of the word "play" to describe the leaves also reinforces the idea that nature is not just a passive backdrop to human activity, but an active participant in the world around us.

As the poem progresses, Wordsworth introduces the theme of transience. He describes how the leaves "fade away" and "die," and how the kitten will one day grow up and lose its innocence. This theme of transience is a common one in Wordsworth's poetry, as he often reflects on the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of change. In this poem, he uses the image of the falling leaves to symbolize the passing of time and the impermanence of all things.

Despite the melancholy undertones of the poem, there is also a sense of joy and wonder. Wordsworth celebrates the beauty of nature and the joy that can be found in simple pleasures, such as a kitten playing with falling leaves. He reminds us that even though life is fleeting, there is still beauty to be found in the world around us.

The language and imagery used in "Poetry Kitten And Falling Leaves" are typical of Wordsworth's style. He uses simple, everyday language to describe the natural world, and his poetry is characterized by its vivid imagery and emotional depth. The poem is also notable for its use of personification, as Wordsworth gives life to the leaves and the kitten, making them more than just objects in the natural world.

In conclusion, "Poetry Kitten And Falling Leaves" is a masterpiece of Romantic poetry. Through his vivid imagery and emotional depth, Wordsworth captures the beauty and transience of life, and celebrates the joy that can be found in the natural world. The poem is a testament to Wordsworth's skill as a poet, and his ability to capture the essence of the human experience in his writing. It is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and move readers to this day.

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