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

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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.

Poetic devices

Alliteration – It is the close repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words. For instance,

“He plants a friend of sun and sky”
“He plants a home to heaven anigh”
In hushed and happy twilight heart”
“He plants a flag of breezes free”
Metonymy – Metonymy is a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted by something that is closely associated with it. In this poem, The heart of the tree, the phrases “cool shade”, “tender rain”, “sap and leaf and wood”, are all metonyms for the tree. In the first stanza, in the line “He plants a home to heaven anigh”, ‘heaven’ represents the sky.

Transferred epithet – It is a figure of speech in which an adjective qualifies the noun and not the person or thing it is originally describing. For instance,

“In hushed and happy twilight heard”- Here the adjective “happy” qualifies twilight though it means people’s happiness. ‘Twilight’ is not happy, the ‘people’ are happy but still, twilight is qualified by happy.

Metaphor – It is a figure of speech in which a similarity between two different things is implied but not directly stated. In this poem, The heart of the tree, the branches of a tree are compared to a flag. For instance, “He plants the flag of breezes free”.

Personification – It is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas or inanimate objects are given attributes of living beings. For instance, the poet personifies the tree when it calls it “a friend of sun and sky”.

Polysyndeton – It is a figure of speech used for close repetition of conjunctions. For instance,

“He plants in sap and leaf and wood”