On Killing a Tree Paraphrasing | Must Read

By | July 27, 2023

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ByGieve Patel

Useful Expressions

Years of sunlight, air, water – A tree consumes lots of sunlight, air and water to become a completely grown tree.

… leprous hide —Discoloured bark.

… anchoring earth – With the help of roots, the earth holds the trees.

And the strength of the tree exposed – The strength of a tree lies in its roots. So to kill a tree its roots are to be exposed to the sun for dryness.

… scorching and choking – When the trees are uprooted, they dry up.

Browning, hardening, Twisting, withering –When trees are uprooted and exposed to the sun, they become hardened, twisted and start decaying.

On Killing a Tree Paraphrasing

                                 STANZA                                  MEANING
It takes much time to kill a tree,


Not a simple jab of the knife

Will do it It has grown

Slowly consuming the earth,

Rising out of it, feeding

Upon its crust, absorbing

Years of sunlight, air, water,

And out of its leprous hide

Sprouting leaves

The poet tells us that killing a tree is not easy. It is time-consuming. A tree grows straight out the earth and nourishes itself on the nutrients found in the earth, besides taking years of sunlight, water, and air. Although its bark looks irregular and scaly, leaves and branches sprout out of it.
So hack and chop


But this alone won’t do it.

The poet says that the hack of a knife, or chopping Off a bough is not sufficient to bring a tree down. These


Not so much pain will do it.


The bleeding bark will heal

And from close to the ground

Will rise curled green twigs,

Miniature boughs

Which if unchecked will expand again

To former size.


jabs may inflict pain on the tree but the pain is not enough to kill it. The ‘bleeding bark’ will heal with time. New green twigs will grow again and boughs chopped off will be replaced by new boughs. It will grow into their former size.


The root is to be pulled out —

Out of the anchoring earth;

 It is to be roped, tied,

And pulled out — snapped out

Or pulled out entirely,

Out from the earth-cave,

And the strength of the tree exposed

The source, white and wet,

The most sensitive, hidden

For years inside the earth.


Here, the poet explains how a tree could be killed. He says to kill a tree, its root has to be pulled out. The life source, the root, is exposed, the tree becomes vulnerable. Thus, the strength of the tree is exposed.
Then the matter


Of scorching and choking

In sun and air, Browning, hardening,

Twisting, withering,

And then it is done.


The poet tells us that when the tree is exposed to the sun and air, it will be scorched because of the heat. Slowly, it will become brown, hardened. With time, it will start to wither, become dry and bend out of shape, leaving a corpse. The exposure of root vulnerable to all vagaries of will ultimately weaken the tree and kill it.

Want to Read More Check Below:-

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On Killing a Tree- Introduction

On Killing a Tree-Comprehension Passages

On Killing a Tree – Important Extra Questions- Short Answer Type

On Killing a Tree – Important Extra Questions- Long Answer Type

On Killing a Tree – Quick Review of the Poem