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ON KILLING A TREE
By– Gieve Patel
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
|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
|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,
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,
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.|