The Heart of the Tree Poem by Henry Bunner Class 9 ICSE Board English Literature – Treasure Trove

The Heart of the Tree poem by Henry Cuyler Bunner is a short poetry showcasing how a tree is selfless in service and happiness of others.

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Treasure Trove A Collection of poems. ICSE Board Class 9.

How the poem ‘The Heart of the Tree’ is relevant to our times?

What does he plant 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;
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard—
The treble of heaven’s harmony—
These things he plants who plants a tree.

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;
He plants the glory of the plain;
He plants the forest’s heritage;
The harvest of a coming age;
The joy that unborn eyes shall see—
These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants in sap and leaf and wood,
In love of home and loyalty
And far-cast thought of civic good—
His blessings on the neighbourhood,
Who in the hollow of His hand
Holds all the growth of all our land—
A nation’s growth from sea to sea
Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.

Figures of speech (Poetic devices) used in the heart of the tree poem

Alliteration – Words beginning with similar sounds in the same sentence or line. For example:

sun and sky
“He plants a friend of sun and sky”

home and heaven
“He plants a home to heaven anigh”

hushed and happy
“In hushed and happy twilight heart”

flag and free
“He plants a flag of breezes free”

Metonymy – is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is substituted by something similar. In The heart of the Tree, the tree is also referred to as “cool shade”, “tender rain”, “sap and leaf and wood”.

“He plants a home to heaven anigh”, ‘heaven’ here means the sky.

Transferred epithet – An Epithet is an adjective used to describe something. and a transferred epithet is when you try to describe something else to make a point. In other words when you want to say ‘I am happy’ you say ‘it is a wonderful day’

“In hushed and happy twilight heard”- Here the adjective “happy” is used for twilight though ‘twilight’ is never happy and happy is used for people’s happiness.

Find out about Literary Devices, Poetic Devices and Figures of Speech

Metaphor – The subject of the sentence is called something else that looks similar.

In the heart of the tree, the tree is compared to a flag.
“He plants the flag of breezes free”.

Personification – Here abstract ideas or inanimate objects are described like living beings. Trees are usually called friends although they cannot emote.
“a friend of sun and sky”.

Polysyndeton – When conjunctions are used frequently in one sentence.
“He plants in sap and leaf and wood”