Friday, December 2, 2022

Poem - The Trees - Class 10 - First Flight - Full Text, Summary and Solved Questions

 The Trees

By ADRIENNE RICH

The trees inside are moving out into the forest,
the forest that was empty all these days
where no bird could sit
no insect hide
no sun bury its feet in shadow
the forest that was empty all these nights
will be full of trees by morning.

All night the roots work
to disengage themselves from the cracks
in the veranda floor.
The leaves strain toward the glass
small twigs stiff with exertion
long-cramped boughs shuffling under the roof
like newly discharged patients
half-dazed, moving
to the clinic doors.

I sit inside, doors open to the veranda
writing long letters
in which I scarcely mention the departure
of the forest from the house.
The night is fresh, the whole moon shines
in a sky still open
the smell of leaves and lichen
still reaches like a voice into the rooms.

My head is full of whispers
which tomorrow will be silent.
Listen. The glass is breaking.
The trees are stumbling forward
into the night. Winds rush to meet them.
The moon is broken like a mirror,
its pieces flash now in the crown
of the tallest oak.

Glossary

to disengage themselves: to separate themselves
strain: make efforts to move
bough: branch
shuffling: moving repeatedly from one position to another
lichen: crusty patches or bushy growth on tree trunks/bare ground formed by
association of fungus and alga.

Thinking about the Poem

1. (i) Find, in the first stanza, three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest.

Three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest are that birds cannot sit, insects cannot hide and there will be no shade.

   (ii) What picture do these words create in your mind: “… sun bury its feet in shadow…”? What could the poet mean by the sun’s ‘feet’?

The sun burying its feet evokes the image of a traveller who seeks the cool shade of tree during scorching heat. Here 'feet' of the sun refer to its rays. When there is no shadow on the ground, because there are no trees, the rays fall directly on the ground. In a forest with trees, the shadow hides the sun rays and it seems that the sun is burying its feet in the shadow that fall from the trees.




2. (i) Where are the trees in the poem? What do their roots, their leaves, and their twigs do?

In the poem, the trees are trapped in the poet’s house. Their roots work all night to disengage themselves from the cracks in the veranda floor. The leaves try very hard to move towards the glass and put a lot of pressure on it so that it breaks, while the small twigs get stiff with exertion.

   (ii) What does the poet compare their branches to?

The poet compares the branches to newly discharged patients of a hospital. The large branches of the trees become cramped due to the roof above them, and when they get free they rush stumblingly to the outside world. While doing so, they look half-shocked like the patients, who wait for a long time to get out of the hospital.

3.  (i) How does the poet describe the moon: (a) at the beginning of the third stanza, and (b) at its end? What causes this change?

The poet describes the moon differently at the beginning  and in the end. (a) At the beginning of the third stanza  the line "The night is fresh, the whole moon shines / in a sky still open"


(ii) What happens to the house when the trees move out of it?
(iii) Why do you think the poet does not mention “the departure of the forest
from the house” in her letters? (Could it be that we are often silent
about important happenings that are so unexpected that they embarrass
us? Think about this again when you answer the next set of questions.)

(update in progress...)