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In this poem, the poet symbolizes a deep-rooted evil. He says that a tree can’t be killed out just by hacking and chopping it. To put it to a permanent end, it should be uprooted entirely and left out to wither in the sun. In the same way, the social evil can’t be put out just by criticizing them. The society should root them up to die forever.
The poem “On Killing a Tree” by Gieve Patel presents the sturdiness of a fully grown tree, strengthened by nourishment from the earth, the sun, and the air. The poem also depicts the survival instinct of a strong tree which refuses to die even when its trunk and branches have been chopped off. The real strength and vitality of a tree lie in its deep roots. It is only when these roots wither that the tree loses its life.
“On Killing a Tree” is a scathing criticism of human callousness and cruelty in chopping down trees for agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization. Apparently, the poem reads like a ‘How-to-Do’ manual of killing a tree but actually, it is a passionate appeal not to cut trees. The poem also applauds the sturdiness and resilience of trees in that they take all kinds of attacks and wounds in their stride but refuse to die. They may be wounded, scarred or maimed, but they bounce back into life by healing themselves in due course of time. One wonders if human beings can ever have that kind of attitude to life.
The title of the poem is simple and appropriate as it contains the major concern of the poet – merciless and callous felling of trees. It indicates appropriately that the poem is about the process of killing of the tree. The entire poem explains the view that killing a tree is not a simple, short or easy process. Trees have tremendous strength and a great instinct for survival.
Jab = a sudden rough blow,प्रहार,चुभन ; consuming the earth = getting food from the earth, धरती से भोजन प्राप्त करते हुए ; crust = outer layer of the earth, धरती की बाहरी परत ; absorbing=sucking, सोखते हुए ; leprous = disease of Leprosy,कुष्ठ रोग ; hide = back,छाल ; sprouting = germinating,उगते हुए I Hack = to cut with a heavy spade, भारी कुल्हाड़ी से काटना ; chop = snap, फाड़ देना ;heal =recover, स्वस्थ हो जाना ; curled = twisted,मुड़ी हुई ; twigs = small branches, शाखाएँ ; miniature = small, छोटी Anchoring earth = the earth that gives support to the trees, धरती जो वृक्षों को सहारा देती है ;roped = tied with a rope, रस्सी से बांधना ; snapped out = chopped out, काटकर बाहर निकालना I Strength = power, शक्ति ; exposed = to take out in open, बाहर खुले में ले जाना ; sensitive=quick to the touch,संवेदनशील I scorching= discolouring by the sun,धूप से झुलस जाना ; choking = unable to breath,दम घुट जाना ;browning = becoming of brown colour, धूसर रंग का हो जाना ; twisting =getting bends,बल खाते हुए ;withering = fading,मुरझाते हुए !
Jab— to hit something forcefully; Consuming—using fuel, energy, etc.; Rise—move up; Crust—upper layer of earth; Absorb— to take something in slowly; Leprous—irregular and scaly; Hide— out of view; Sprout—to produce leaves; Hack—cut; Chop—cut in pieces; Bleed— to lose blood; Bark—hard outer covering of tree; Heal—to become well again; Close—near; Expand— to increase in size; Pull— remove; Anchor— hold; Rope— cord; Entirely— completely; Strength— effort; Expose— to disclose;Sensitive— delicate; Matter— situation; Scorching— to burn slightly; Choking— blocking breaths;Hardening— to become hard; Twisting—turn; Wither— to become weak.