The Heart of a Tree Poem Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. The Heart of a Tree Poem is written by Henry Cuyler Bunner.
The Heart of a Tree Poem Summary in English by Henry Cuyler Bunner
The Heart of a Tree Poem About the Poet
Henry Cuyler Bunner was born in Oswego, New York, on August 3, 1851. He received his education in New York City. He gained a lot of popularity as the editor of the humour magazine called Puck. He wrote many short stories and novels. Among his famous novels are A Woman of Honor (1883), Airs from Arcady (1884), In Partnership (1884) and The Midge (1886).
His poetic works are Airs from A Ready and Elsewhere (1884), Rowen (1892) and Poems (1896). His poetry reveals a light play of imagination as also his command over poetic structure. He died on May 11, 1896.
The Heart of a Tree About the Poem
All about the Poem The Heart of a Tree:
The poem ‘The Heart of the Tree’ highlights the need of planting trees. The poet believes that a tree proves to be large hearted as it benefits all and sundry. It leaves a rich legacy for the coming generation.
The Heart of the Tree’ by Bunner focuses our attention on the value of planting a tree. We know that felling of trees has led to environmental disaster in our times. Divided into three stanzas, the poem tells us of the various benefits of planting a tree. Each stanza opens with the same question : ‘What does he plant who plants a tree ?’ The answer is provided by the poet himself.
He who plants a tree, plants many things : the gentle sunlight, free breezes, beauty, music and harmony. He ensures cool shade and tender rain. He leaves a rich legacy for the coming generations. He who plants a tree is conscious of the growth and development of his country. In other words, trees are our best bet for better environment and growth. They are symbolic of so many things.
The Heart of a Tree Poem Theme
‘The Heart of the Tree’ highlights the need of planting trees. The tree proves to be large- hearted as it benefits all and sundry. It has the ability to form the congenial atmosphere, being ‘a friend of sun and sky’. It creates beauty around. It shelters birds which delight us with their croonings in the evening. It creates music and harmony. One who plants a tree ensures cool shade in summer and gentle rain.
Moreover, a plant leaves a rich forest heritage. It proves to be useful to the coming generation. It binds the present with the future. It stands for good values like love and loyalty. One who plants a tree, in fact, plants growth and development of his country. He plants a new nation which ensures peace and prosperity in the whole world (‘from sea to sea’). Thus, planting a tree, according to the poet, has ecological, social and economic benefits.
The Heart of a Tree Poem Summary in English
Utilities of a Tree
The poem ‘The Heart of the Tree’ deals with the utilities and values of the trees. It comments on the relevance and importance of trees in the modem times. The poem opens with a question, which is repeated thrice : ‘What does he plant who plants a tree ?’ The poet himself provides the answer in metaphors. A tree is a friend of the sun and the sky. In other words, it ensures healthy environment. It ensures cool, free breezes. The place where it stands is akin to heaven. As it shelters birds, one can hear their sweet songs in twilights. So one who plants a tree creates a congenial atmosphere all around in which there is peace, comfort, beauty, music and harmony.
Benefits of a Tree
Then the poet goes on to enumerate several other benefits of planting a tree. A tree ensures cool shade for us in summer. It causes tender rains. It gives seeds and buds to bloom into flowers. A tree is a symbol of a forest’s heritage. It can serve us as a living legacy for the next generation. It is the symbol of joy for our future children. Thus, trees link our present and future.
Trees Ensure Growth
Then the poet says that he who plants a tree does a civic good. All his neighbours feel blessed and benefitted. It is he who ensures the growth of his country. In other words, a country’s growth and progress depends on the wealth of trees. He who plants a tree yearns for the welfare of his country. In fact, by planting a tree he plants a nation.
The Heart of a Tree Poem Stanza Wise Explanation
The poet underlines the value of planting a tree. When a man plants a tree he plants many things. A tree is a friend of congenial atmosphere. It reduces air temperature and even purifies air by trapping dust, pollen and smoke. It ensures free gentle breezes. Thus, it is aptly described as ‘a friend of sun and sky’. It turns a place around it into heaven. The place where there are green trees is nothing short of heaven. He who plants a tree also ensures shelter for the birds whose sweet croonings in silent and happy twilights delight us. By planting a tree he ensures peace, harmony and comfort for himself and others.
The poet once again repeats the question : ‘What does he plant who plants a tree ?’ The answer provided is simple. By planting a tree we ensure cool shade for us in summer and tender rains in all seasons, which are essential for our very existence. A tree gives us seeds which sprout, and buds which bloom in times to come. The poet describes a tree as ‘the forest’s heritage’ and ‘the harvest of a coming age’. It can serve us as a living legacy for the next generation. It provides many benefits in the times to come. It is, in fact, a link between us and our children.
There are many other benefits of planting a tree. Good values like love and loyalty are planted when one plants and nurtures a tree. Planting a tree also does civic good. The tree benefits all the neighbours around. The poet emphasises the fact that a country’s growth and development depends upon its wealth of trees. One who plants a tree is conscious of this fact:
Who in the hollow of His hand
Holds all the growth of all our land—
The Heart of a Tree Poem Glossary
breezes free : gentle winds that move with full freedom
shaft : a long narrow part of something (sunlight, for example)
towering : rising
anigh : near, close to
croon : gentle sweet song, a lullaby of a mother
hushed : silent
twilight : the period of time at the end of the day after the sun has just gone, down
treble : high tone
tender : gentle, pleasant
days to be : times to come, future
fade and flush : fade out and then brighten up
heritage : history or tradition that lasts for years
harvest : reward
unborn eyes : unborn children
sap : liquid in a plant that carries food to all parts
civic good : welfare of the people living in the same town or city
hollow : empty space
from sea to sea : all the world
stirs : arouses a feeling
The Heart of a Tree Poem Critical Appreciation
The title of the poem ‘The Heart of the Tree’ is appropriate as the poem focuses on the values and utilities of a tree. The poet refers to the ‘heart’ of the tree – what kind of heart it possesses. It is kind, generous and magnanimous. It does not show any discrimination. It blesses all those who take care of it or even who neglect it. Wherever a tree is planted, it turns the place into heaven. That is why, the poet praises one who plants a tree :
He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh.
Though the poem was written many years ago when there was less concern about ecology and environment, it has a profound message for our generation. In our times forests are being decimated for building houses, roads and bridges. Trees seem to attract none. The poet draws our attention to what we do when we plant trees.
He rightly says that one who plants trees plants many things – beauty, peace, prosperity and good values. He says :
A nation’s growth from sea to sea
Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.
Symbol of Peace
It is important to note that the tree is used as a symbol of whatever good there is in our life. It is a symbol of peace and prosperity. It ensures rewards of planting it even for unborn children.
The Heart of a Tree Poem Style and Literary Devices
The poem is a lyric. It is relatively short, consisting of only three stanzas. Each stanza of 9 lines (called the Spenserian stanza) uses the rhyme ababbccaa, which is quite intricate, though it creates the required rhythm and music. Like a good lyric, it incorporates a single emotion. It appeals to our hearts at once :
What does he plant who plants a tree ?
He plants cool shade and tender rain,
And seed and bud of days to be,
And years that fade and flush again. Literary Devices
The poet describes the tree metaphorically as
- ‘a friend of sun and sky’
- ‘the flag of breezes free’
- ‘the forest’s heritage’
- ‘the harvest of a coming age’
- ‘He plants a friend of sun and sky’ (the sound ‘s’)
- ‘In hushed and happy twilight heard’ (the sound ‘h’)
- ‘And years that fade and flush again’ (the sound ‘f’)
- ‘He plants a home to heaven anigh’ (the sound ‘h’)
Visual Images :
- The shaft of beauty, towering high
- The flag of breezes free
Auditory Image :
- For song and mother-croon of bird.
A tree is used as a symbol of peace, growth, prosperity, beauty, goodness etc.