Can anyone please tell me if I am asked questions in present tense from a prose and poem, should I give answers in present tense or in past tense?
Here is the poem 'The Owl' by Edward Thomas from which A question was asked in my exam:
And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.
Here is the question that was asked in the exam:
- We generally add salt to our food to improve its taste. So, what does the poet mean when he says 'salted was my food'? Why does he feel that way?
Answer: Salt improves the taste of food. But here the poet uses the word 'salted' in the sense of 'oversalted'. His food appeared to be tasteless to him.
It is the thought of the miseries of the helpless poor people and the soldiers serving at the front which makes him feel that way. Unlike him, these people suffers the biting cold of the North wind, without food and shelter.
I gave the answer written above. My question is should I answer in present tense as the question is in present tense or in past tense. As the poem was written in the past and everything happened in the past, does the present sound appropriate there?