R.L Stevenson


R.L.Stevenson’s poem ‘From a Railway Carriage describes the scenes and sights seen during a train journey. The train moves forward and all the scenes glimpsed by the traveller’s eyes are recorded through the poem. The poem records the exciting experience of a train journey.


The train moves out from a city station at first. As the train gathers speed bridges, houses fly away as fast as fairies and witches. Then the train reaches the open country. Here the landscape moves behind a little slower. Horses and cattle are seen in the meadows. They move backwards like troops of armies moving into a battle field. The traveller sees hills and plains from the railway carriage. They are seen only for a moment. They fly behind like driving rain. The traveller also sees railway stations on the way. The stations are painted. The train moves past the stations very quickly. The traveller sees a lonely child who climbs with difficulty and plucks blackberries. He also sees a tramp who stands and watches the moving train. Another scene from the railway carriage is that of a cart moving along the road. It carries people and load. The traveller also sees a mill and a river. All these sights remain only for a few moments. They disappear quickly as the train moves forward.


ആർ. എൽ . സ്റ്റീവൻ സണിന്‍റെ ‘ഒരു തീവണ്ടിക്കാഴ്ച്’ എന്ന കവിത, ഒരു തീവണ്ടിയിൽ നിന്ന് കാണുന്ന കാഴ്ചകളും ദൃശ്യങ്ങളും വിവരിക്കുന്നു. നഗരത്തിലെ റെയിൽ വേ സ്റ്റേഷനിൽ നിന്നും പുറപ്പെടുന്ന തീവണ്ടി വീടുകളും പാലങ്ങളും മതിൽക്കെട്ടുകളും കടന്ന് അതിവേഗം മുൻപോട്ട് കുതിക്കുന്നു. നാട്ടിൻ പുറത്തേയ്ക്കു കടന്നാൽ പുൽമേടുകളിൽനിൽ ക്കുന്ന കുതിരകളും കന്നുകാലികളും യുദ്ധത്തിനു പോകുന്ന സൈനിക വൃന്ദത്തെ പ്പോലെ കുതിക്കുന്ന തു കാണാം. കുന്നുകളും സമതല ങ്ങളും പാഞ്ഞു പോകുന്ന മഴ പോലെ അകന്നു പോകുന്നു. കണ്ണടച്ചു തുറക്കു മ്പോഴേ യ് ക്കും ചെറിയ റെയിൽ വേ സ്റ്റേഷനുകൾ ആപ്രത്യക്ഷമാവുന്നു. ഒരു ചെറിയ കുട്ടി ഒറ്റ യ്ക്ക് വലിഞ്ഞുകയറി പഴങ്ങൾ പറിക്കുന്നതു കാണാം. ഒരു തെരുവു തെണ്ടി തീവണ്ടി കടന്നുപോകുന്നത് നോക്കി നിൽക്കുന്നു. നിരത്തിലൂടെ കടന്നുപോകുന്ന ഒരു കുതിര വണ്ടിയിൽ നിറയെ ആളുകളും ഭാരവും ഉണ്ട്. യാത്രക്കാരൻ ഒരു ധാന്യമില്ലും ഒരു പുഴയും കാണുന്നു, പക്ഷേ എല്ലാം ഒരു നിമിഷത്തിന് ശേഷം അപ്രത്യക്ഷമാവുന്നു.

Word Meaning

 fairy : a small imaginary being, especially a female one with magical powers,യക്ഷി

witch : a women thought to have evil magic power, ദുർമന്ത്രവാദിനി

hedge : a row of bushes or small trees planted close together and forming a boundary for a field garden etc., വേലി യായി നട്ടു വളർത്തുന്ന കുറ്റിച്ചെടിനിര

ditch : a long narrow channel dug at the edge of a field road etc. to hold or carry away water, ചാൽ

charging : rushing forward, മുമ്പോട്ട് കുതിക്കുക

troops : soldiers, സൈനികർ

meadow : an area or field of land covered in grass, പുൽത്തകിടി

driving : having great force, അതിശക്തമായ

in the wink of an eye : within a very short time,അല്പസമയത്തിനുള്ളിൽ

whistle by: to move rapidly making the sound a whistle, ചൂളമടിച്ച് അതിവേഗം           കടന്നുപോകുക

clamber : to climb with difficulty, ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടി കയറുക

scramble : to move quickly using one’s hands, അള്ളിപ്പിടിച്ച് പെട്ടെന്നു നീങ്ങുക

bramble : ഞാറപ്പഴം

tramp : a person who wanders from place to place, അലഞ്ഞു തിരിയുന്നവൻ ,നാടോടി

graze : to look long and steadily, usually in surprise or admiration,  അത്ഭുതാദരങ്ങളോടെ തുറിച്ചു നോക്കുക

green : a grassy area used for a special purpose , പ്രീതിയെക ഉദ്ദേശ്യത്തിനായുള്ള പുൽപ്രദേശം

lump along: to proceed heavily, ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടി മുന്നോട്ടു നീങ്ങുക.

glimpse : a momentary view, ക്ഷണികദർശനം

Questions and Answers in the Reading Passage (Page 64)

1. Does the train move through a village or city? Justify your answer.

The train at first travels through a city.We see bridges, houses and hedges which show human settlement. Soon the train moves out into the open country. All the scenes thereafter are village scenes.

2. What are the expressions used by the poet to show the amazing speed of the train?

The train moves very fast. The scenes seen from the train move backwards very quickly. They are faster than fairies and witches. They move like charging troops in a battle, like driving rain and like the wink of an eye.

3. How does the poet bring out the locomotive rhythm in the poem?

The poet uses a number of repetitions and rhyming words to echo the rhythm and movement of the train. The rhyming words are placed in the middle of the lines and at the end. eg. words like, faster, fairies, witches, diches etc.

Let’s revisit

 1. What is the poem about?

A fast moving train and the people, places and things seen from it.

2. What was the aim of the poet while writing the poem ‘From A Railway Carriage?

To tell readers about his experience on a rain .

3. Read the line from the poem. ‘Here is a beggar who stands and gazes’. Which word has almost the same meaning as gazes?


 4. What is similar about the words witches and ditches’?

Both are at the end of a line and rhyme with each other.

 5. How do the troops resemble the train?

They charge along

6. In what ways are the child and the tramp different?

The child is clambering and scrambling and the tramp is standing and gazing

 7. What are the last two things seen from the railway carriage?

A mill and a river

8. In what order are the people and things seen from the railway carriage?

A child, a beggar, a cart, a mill and a river

9. Read these lines from the poem.

And ever again, in the wink of an eye, Painted stations whistle by’

Why does it seem that the painted stations appear and disappear in the wink of an eye?

As they are seen from the window of a fast moving railway carriage.

10. Read the last line of the poem. ‘Each a glimpse and gone forever! what does the poet mean by this line?

You only get a quick look at something as you pass by, never to see it again.

11. In the poem, certain words and cluster of letters (-es) are repeated. Can you list out the repeated words and the cluster of letters from the poem? Do you think repetition enhances the musical quality of poem?

The words repeated in the poem are: fairies, witches, houses, hedges, trops, meadows, house sights, stations etc. The cluster of letters repeated most is ‘-es’ as in fairies, witches, bridges, houses etc. These repetitions echo the sound of actual movement of a train. In addition, repetition enhances the musical quality of the poem.

12. Imagine that you are on a train, passing through a number of places/stations. Name any five scenes you would see through the window. Do you have the same feeling of joy if you travel by bus?

When I travel in a train, I see

(a) Railway stations full of people andtraders.

(b) Vast paddy fields which are not cultivated.

(c) Towns and high rise buildings at a distance.

(d) Bridges and rivers on the way.

(e) Rubber plantations at a distance.

Travel by train gives an exciting and thrilling experience. Travel by bus is tedious and boring.

Activity – 1

In the poem there are a number of words that describe movement and sound. Complete the following table selecting appropriate words/expressions from the words in the box below?

Words that describe movement Words that describe sound
Whistle by Whistle
Faster driving rain
Charing along

Activity -2

Find out pairs of rhyming words from the poem.

Battle- cattle

Plain- rain

Eye- bye

Scrambles- brambles

Road – load

River -forever

Activity 3

In this poem, the poet uses two similes. Pick out these similes from the poem.

1. ‘And charging along like troops in a battle All through the meadows, the horses and cattle.

2. ‘All of the sights of the hill and the plain Fly as thick as driving rain.’

Activity -4

Underline the initial sounds of words repeated in the given lines.

 a .Faster than fairies, faster than witches

b. Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;

Now, underline the vowel sounds repeated in each line.

Alliteration: repetition of initial consonant sounds of words in a line.

Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds in a line.

Identify the lines having alliteration.

‘Faster than fairies, faster than witches

 Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches’

Identify the lines having assonance

‘Fly as thick as driving rain’ “Here is a child who clambers and scrambles All by himself and gathering brambles’. ‘Here is a tramp who stands and gazes And here is a hill and there is a river.

What effect do the repeated sounds bring to the poem?

They lend a rhythmic quality to the poem.

Activity – 5

Consider the first two lines of the poem. Can you find out any pattern?

 Fast-er than fair-ies, fast-er than wit-ches Brid-ges and hous-es, hed-ges and dit-ches Read the poem aloud giving stress to the underlined parts. The poem follows a stressed and under stress pattern. This pattern is repeated, but not exactly the same in every line. Read the poem again. Doesn’t it sound like the beats of a drum? The poem has the rhythm of a moving train.

 How does this rhythm contribute to the meaning of the poem?

The rhythm gives a feel of the moving train.

Activity – 6

List down the rhyming words of each line in the first stanza. Name the words according to the similarity of ending sound.

 Begin the naming with a’. Words with similar endings should be named using the same letter.

Ending word of each line naming pattern
witches a
ditches a
battle b
cattle b
plain a
rain a
eye b
by b


You have enjoyed the locomotive rhythm of the poem, haven’t you? Recite the poem individually and in groups. List out the pictures that come to your mind when you read the poem. Can you present the pictures in the form of stills in the class? Attempt to choreograph the poem in your class.


• Ask them to sit in groups and recite the poem in locomotive rhythm.

• While reading the poem, seek the help of a drawing teacher or a learner who draws well to draw the picture depicted in the poem.

• Ask each group to recite the poem with movements and gestures.

• Let them exhibit the pictures while they are moving.


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a well known poet, novelist, essayist and travel writer who lived in Scotland. He has also written a number of books for children. His well known novels include ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Kidnapped’, ‘Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde’ etc.R.L.Stevenson was also famous as a musician.

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