The Flower-School Poem by Rabindranath Tagore Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


“The Flower-School” is a poem written by one of the most celebrated Indian poets,  Rabindranath Tagore. The poem was compiled in Tagore’s work The Crescent Moon which was published in 1913. Similar to this poem, all the other works in the anthology of The Crescent Moon underline the wonders of childhood and its different aspects. Although written in the first person, “The Flower-School” is from the perspective of a school-going child who witnesses and captures the beauty of monsoon and the beauty of flowers that have blossomed and he narrates the same to his mother, who is an implied listener in the poem. 

About the Author 

Born in West Bengal on 7th May 1861, Rabindranath Tagore is one of the most prominent literary figures in India. Tagore is widely considered a polymath due to his role in several fields such as literature, philosophy, music, visual arts, education and social activism. His anthology, Geetanjali or Song Offerings won him a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Tagore has been known to author novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. Some of his famous works include Gitanjali, The Home and the World, The Postmaster, Chokher Bali, Fireflies, The Post Office and, Gora. Tagore. After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Tagore notably renounced his knighthood to the British crown in 1919.


The poem consists of ten lines of irregular length. All the lines are grouped into a single stanza. While some sentences are long, often flowing off to the next line (also called Enjambment), the other sentences are concise. The irregular form of the poem reflects the thought process of the child.

Lines 1- 3

When storm clouds rumble in the sky and June showers come down,

The moist east wind comes marching over the heath to blow its bagpipes among the bamboo.

Then crowds of flowers come out of a sudden, from nobody knows where, and dance upon the grass in wild glee.


The poem opens up with vivid imagery that indicates the coming of the monsoon season. Through several descriptive images of nature, the speaker describes how the monsoons arrive- the clouds rumble and it starts raining. Apart from this, the east wind, which carries the rain with it, sweeps across the green scenery. And because of this wind, the bamboo trees emanate a shrill sound. As the rain clears up the landscape and freshens everything up, it is as though the colourful flowers appear out of thin air. And because of the moisture-laden east wind, these flowers look as if they dance in the greenery in ecstasy. 


The way in which the advent of the rainy season is described is very wholesome. Even though the speaker is a child, they pay attention to every small detail that the scenery consists of- from the shrill sounds of bamboo to the flowers swaying in the wind. This first section accurately depicts the space against which the poem is set.  

Lines 4-5

Mother, I really think the flowers go to school underground.

They do their lessons with doors shut, and if they want to come out to play before it is time, their master makes them stand in a corner.


It is in these lines that the readers become aware of the child speaker, who seems to be talking to his/her mother. The imagination as well as the childish delight of the kid comes alive in these lines. According to the speaker, the flowers have a school that they go to under the soil. Taking this image forward, the speaker explains that the flowers study in classes whose doors are shut to prevent them from coming above the ground before their time. And if these flowers wish to come out to play, their teacher makes them stand in the corner of the class as a form of punishment. 


It is interesting to note here that even though these lines describe a child’s fantastical description of a school of flowers, they mirror the reality of humans. It is not wrong to assume that the speaker themselves go to school which is why they have based their vision on the experiences that they have gone through themselves. The images of the flowers studying in a class with its doors shut and the teachers punishing the flowers are also concepts that mimic the reality of the child. 

Lines 6-7

When the rains come they have their holidays.

Branches clash together in the forest, and the leaves rustle in the wild wind, the thunder-clouds clap their giant hands and the flower children rush out in dresses of pink and yellow and white.


Continuing forth with the imaginative image, the speaker claims that just like school-going children, the flowers too get vacations during the rainy season. The speaker highlights how the flora looks- the branches of the trees clash with each other, owing to the wind, and the leaves rustle because of the same. The clouds rumble and during all this, the flower children come out adobe the ground wearing clothes of varying colours. 


The poet has accurately represented the thought process of a child and how they would perceive the rainy season and fabricate fantasies. Just like how small kids come out in the rain to play and have fun, the flower children too do the same. Not only does the poet impart significance to nature by personifying and ascribing human tendencies to it but by doing so, the poem also becomes ecocentric. 

Lines 8-10

Do you know, mother, their home is in the sky, where the stars are.

Haven't you seen how eager they are to get there? Don't you know why they are in such a hurry?

Of course, I can guess to whom they raise their arms: they have their mother as I have my own.


The child further remarks to his mother that the flowers have their home in the sky, just like the stars do. According to the speaker, just like the kids, the flowers too are eager to return home after their “holidays”. The speaker asks their mother if they know the reason why the flowers are in a hurry to get back to their home, the sky. The child concludes that the flowers “raise their arms” or grow towards the sky because their mother lives in the sky. Thus, just like the speaker has a mother, the flowers do too. 


These lines, and the rest of the poem, do a phenomenal job of outlining the innocence of children which comes out through the way they perceive the world around them. Since a child’s mind is free of any prejudice, it can view the surroundings in a way that adults cannot. The imaginative faculty of children is extremely endearing and this is shown through the poem towards the end. Not only does the child speaker perceive the flowers as entities that have important lives, just like humans, but he/she also ascribes human characteristics to put nature in the spotlight.