The Trees Poem Class 10 English First Flight Poem

The Trees Poem Class 10 English, First Flight – Summary, Explanation, Word Meanings

The Trees Poem Class 10 English First Flight Poem : The Trees Poem Class 10 English, First Flight – Summary, Explanation, Word Meanings-

The Trees Poem Class 10 English First Flight Poem

Detailed summary and explanation of “The Trees” Poem along with meanings for difficult words is provided here. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Poem and do well in their exams.


The Trees shows the conflict between man and nature. Nature is not happy with activities of human being. With the growth and development of society, human beings have used nature for their own benefit and caused a lot of harm to it. In order to use natural resources men have forgotten the importance of nature. The trees from the poet’s house are going out of the forest to free themselves.

Summary of the Poem

This is a  poem about the decorative plants. These plants are grown in houses for beautification. These grow in small pots and pans. They have taken the place of large forest trees which have been cut by human beings. This poem presents the picture of harm done to nature by human beings. Adrienne Rich’s poem ‘The Trees’ is a voice with a body engaged in activities and sensing intrusions that are not organic to the conventions of a nature poem.

This poem narrates the struggle of a population of trees to escape the confines of a green house or container of nature. The poet tells us that how trees want to break out of the bondage of man-made things and reunite with their natural surroundings. The message is that the forests have disappeared. So people have plant in their homes. Trees are revolting as they have lost their natural usefulness. No bird nests in them, nor do they spread their shadows to the tired people.


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

 : The poet observes that the trees in his house are moving outside into the forest which has been empty for a long time. It is important to understand that the trees are not actually moving, but it has been used as an imaginary by the poet to show the destroyed forests and the false nature that humans have tried to keep in their houses for creating a false impression of nature or for decoration.

Since the forest outside was empty, no birds could sit on the branches of trees, no insects could hide in the trees and sunlight could never disappear under the shadows of the trees. The poet says that as the trees are moving out , the forests which were empty all these nights will be full of trees by the 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.

 : It seems like the trees work silently in the night in order to complete their mission of getting free from the boundaries of the house. Therefore, the roots of the tree work all night to free themselves through the cracks on the Veranda floor. The leaves of the trees try very hard to put a lot of pressure on the glass window so that they could break it and go outside.

The small twigs have become very hard due to applying so much pressure to free themselves. The larger branches of the trees have shrunk and had bent because of being inside all the walls and under the roof , where they cannot grow much. Trees try to move slowly from there and look like newly discharged patients from a hospital, who become half-shocked on coming to the outside world.

I sit inside, doors open to the verandah

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.

: The poet sits in her house, writing long letters, with the doors of house opening to the Veranda. She mentions in her letters about the trees that are moving out to the empty forest. It is a full moon night where the moon is shining in the open sky and the night is very fresh. The smell of leaves and lichens reaches the poet like a voice coming from the rooms of the house.

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.

: The poet listens to the sounds coming from the leaves and lichens of the trees. These sounds will not be there in the morning as the trees will move out to the forest in the night and will not be in the house by morning. Now, the poet can hear the glass breaking due to the efforts of the twigs.

The trees hurry outside stumbling on each other. As the trees go in the open, it seems like the wind is moving fast towards them to meet them. After going out into the forest, the tall trees stand straight in the forest. Its branches cover the moon due to which it looks like a broken mirror. The broken pieces of the moon seems like a crown of the tallest oak tree.

Difficult Word Meanings

Word Meaning Word Meaning
disengage remove strain pressure
twigs small stem exertion effort
cramped restricted boughs branch
shuffling mixing discharged send out
dazed stun  


NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English First Flight Chapter 8 The Trees

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

2. What picture do these words create in your mind: “….. sun bury its feet in shadow…..1′? What could the poet mean by the sun’s ‘feet’?

Answer: 1. The three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest are – the sitting of a bird on trees, the hiding of insects and the sun burying its feet in the shadow of the forest.

2. The sun’s ‘feet’ refers to the rays of the sun that fall on the earth. 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.

Question 2. 1. Where are the trees in the poem? What do their roots, their leaves and their twigs do? 2. What does the poet compare their branches to?

Answer: 1. 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.
2. 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.

Question 3. 1. How does the poet describe the moon:

(a) at the beginning of the third stanza, and
(b) at its end? What causes this change?
2.What happens to the house when the trees move out of it?
3. 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.)

Answer:1. At the beginning of the third stanza, the poet says that the full moon is shining in the open sky in the fresh night. At the end of the stanza, she describes that the moon breaks into pieces like a broken mirror and shines on the heads of the tallest oak trees. As the trees move outside, they cover some of the shine of the moon and it can be seen only in parts. This is why, it seems that the moon has broken into pieces.

2. When the trees move out of the house, the glasses break and the whispers of the trees vanish, leaving the house silent.

3. The poet hardly mentions about “the departure of the forest from the house” in her letters because it is humans, who did not care for nature in the first place. So, maybe, the poet now thinks that nobody would be interested in knowing about the efforts that the trees are making in order to set themselves free. If other men cared about the trees, they would not have destroyed them. It seems that this whole beauty of trees moving back to forests can be seen and felt only by the poet.

Question 4. Now that you have read the poem in detail, we can begin to ask what the poem might mean. Here are two suggestions. Can you think of others?

1. Does the poem present a conflict between man and nature? Compare it with A Tiger in the Zoo. Is the poet suggesting that plants and trees, used for ‘interior decoration’ in cities while forests are cut down, are ‘imprisoned1, and need to ‘break out’?
2. On the other hand, Adrienne Rich has been known to use trees as a metaphor for human beings: this is a recurrent image in her poetry. What new meanings emerge from the poem if you take its trees to be symbolic of this particular meaning?

Answer: Since a poem can have different meaning for different readers and the poet can mean two different things using the same imagery, both these meanings can be justified in . context of the poem:

1. Yes, the poem presents a conflict between man and nature. Man has always caused much harm to nature, without realizing that it actually is a harm to the human race. Humans cut down forests for forest goods, which has destroyed a lot of natural beauty. By keeping trees inside walls and denying them their natural home, they are denying them their freedom. That is why, the trees want to move out. Similarly, in the poem A Tiger in the Zoo, the poet shows that animals feel bounded by cages and they want to get free and run wild in the open.

2. If trees have been used as a metaphor for human beings, then the poem would mean that like the trees, humans too want to break free of the boundaries that life puts on them. Modern life with all kinds of physical comfort has also brought a lot of moral downfall. Our lives have become busy and we have become selfish and greedy. Man would also want to enjoy the beauty of nature and go out in the open and be free, just like trees.

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