Tuesday, June 30, 2020

On Killing A Tree | Poem 6 |Summary and Answers | English | Class 9th | Tulip Series

Book Cover | English 9th | Tulip Series | jandkncert |

On Killing A Tree | Poem 6 | Summary and Answers |

English | Class 9th |Tulip Series | jandkncert |

Poem 6 – On Killing A Tree [Tulip Series] Free NCERT Solutions |


Gieve Patel - An Indian Poet

Gieve Patel, born in 1940, is an important presence in the history of modern Indian poetry in English. He is a poet, playwright, and painter, as well as a doctor by profession. He has written three books of poetry (Poems, How Do You Withstand, Body and Mirrored Mirroring); three plays (Princes, Savaksa, and Mr. Behram); and held several exhibitions of his paintings in India and abroad. He lives in Mumbai.

He held his first show in Mumbai in 1966 and went on to have several major exhibitions in India and abroad. Patel participated in the Menton Biemale, France in 1976 India, Myth and Reality, Oxford in 1982; Contemporary Indian Art, Royal Academy, London 1982.


On Killing A Tree (Gieve Patel)


And then it is done It takes much time to kill a tree,

Not a simple jab of the knife

Will do it. It has grown

Slowly consuming the earth,

Rising out of it, feeding

Upon its crust, absorbing

And out of its leprous hide

Sprouting leaves


So, hack and chop

But this alone won’t do it

Not so much pain will do it.

The bleeding bark will heal

And from close to the ground

Will rise curled green twigs,

Miniature boughs

Which if unchecked will expand again

To former size



The root is to be pulled out

Out of the anchoring earth,

It is to be roped, tied,

And pulled out-snapped out

Or pulled out entirely,

Out from the earth –cave,

And the strength of the tree

The source, white and wet,

The most sensitive, hidden,

For years inside the earth,


Then the matter

Of scorching and choking

In sun and air

Browning, hardening,

Twisting, withering,



Central Idea of the Poem

            It takes a long process and time to grow a tree. The poem ‘On Killing A Tree’ compares the process of growth of a tree and the process of its killing. The poet in the poem says that the killing of a tree is a long process. It is not an easy process with a simple knife. It needs a lot of effort. The Poem is very sensitive and contains some words and images suggestive of violence. The poet compares the killing of trees with the killing of a human being. He says that killing a tree is not an easy process as compared to the killing of a human being.


Summary of the Poem

          The poem “On Killing A Tree” has been written by an Indian poet Gieve Patel. The poet says that the killing of a tree is not an easy process. It takes much time to kill a tree. It is no easy to cut it with a simple blow of a knife. It needs much more effort. The tree has taken a long time in the process of its growth by absorbing the sunlight, air, and water for years on the crust of the earth. The tree grows in full-size feeding underneath on earth's crust and then gives its fat branches and leaves.

          The poet says that if a tree is killed from the trunk only, it grows again. The bark of the tree can heal again. The tree does not have much pain on cutting on the trunk. Its twigs grow again and give rise to its leaves. So, to kill a tree completely, we have to pull it from the roots which lie underground. Roots are the most strong parts of a tree. They held a tree fixed in the ground. The tree will grow again if the roots are not pulled out from the ground.

            The roots are to be pulled out of anchoring earth with the help of ropes. This will expose the strength of the tree that is the roots. Roots are the most sensitive white and wet parts of the tree that remains hidden inside the earth and provide the strength to the tree for years.

          When the choking is done, then the chocked tree is to be kept in the sun and air so that its colour and softness withers away. Once the roots are pulled out and exposed to the sun and the air, they wither and the tree is finally killed.

Understanding the Poem

Q1. The growth of a tree is a long process; the killing of a tree is a longer process. Do you agree?

Ans. According to the poet, the killing process of a tree is longer than the growth of trees because it is not easy to kill a tree with a simple blow of knife. It is to be uprooted from inside the earth otherwise its branches will grow again. So, this process takes a long time.

Q2. How has the tree grown to its full size? List the words suggestive of its life and activity.

Ans. The growth of a tree is a slow process. It takes its nourishment in the form of minerals from the earth through the roots and grows in its full size by absorbing the sunlight, air, and water for years. The suggestive words for its life and activity are: consuming, rising out, feeding, absorbing, sprouting, pain, bleeding, heal, expand.

Q3. What does the poet mean by the bleeding barks? What makes it bleed?

Ans. The bark is the outer layer of the tree. It is very hard, dry, and rough. The bark is just like the skin of a tree. If a tree is cut down it gives out a sap-like fluid. The poet considers this sap-like substance as the blood of a tree. So, saying bleeding bark, the poet means this sap that flows down when a tree is cut. The poet wants to say that the trees have life just like human beings have.

Q4. The poet says No at the beginning of the third stanza. What does it signify?

Ans. By saying ‘No’ the poet means to say that the killing of a tree has not done yet, it is not easy to kill a tree by cutting its branches. It will grow again in its full size. To kill the tree completely, we must pull out the roots that provide it the strength and holds it firmly to the ground.

Q5. What does the poet mean by the earth cave?

Ans. The earth cave is a place or pit in which the roots of a tree remain hidden for years to support a tree in holding it firmly on the ground. Here the poet means to say that the roots are hidden inside the ground. They cannot be seen until they are pulled off the cave.

Q6. What according to the poet can kill a tree?

Ans. According to the poet to kill a tree is not an easy process. Cutting its branches and trunk cannot kill a tree. The tree is killed out only once its roots are uprooted and dried under sun and air. Once the drying process is done, it gets hardened, twisted, brown and withered, and then the tree is finally killed out.

Q7. How do you find the style employed by the poet in the poem? Read the poem once again.

Ans. There is no specific style employed in the poem. It may be sarcastic. It is very simple. Although the poem consists of four stanzas, there is not any kind of rhyming scheme in the poem and the length of the lines in all the stanzas is not fixed.


Learning about the literary device

Beginning with the title, what are the words and images that are suggestive of violence in the poem?

Ans. Chopped, roped, tied, pulled out are the words of violence, and death, cutting, browning, killing, bleeding are images of violence.


Structure of the Poem

          There is no specific style employed in the poem. It may be sarcastic. It is very simple. Although the poem consists of four stanzas, there is not any kind of rhyming scheme in the poem and the length of the lines in all the stanzas is not fixed. The poem has been written in free verse.



Q1. The poet says that killing a tree is not so easy. Do you agree?

Ans. According to the poet, the killing of a tree is not easy. A simple jab of the knife can cut a tree and make it bleed through the bark. We know that it takes years for a tree to grow up. During the growing process, it takes its nourishment from beneath the earth through roots. It absorbs the sunlight and air above the earth. The roots become so strong as they remain hidden under the earth and provide strength to the tree so that it can stand erect on the ground. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to kill a tree. The poet says that to kill a tree we need to pull its roots out from the ground. After the roots are uprooted, the tree gets hardened, twisted, dried, and withered, and finally the tree is killed out. So, killing a tree is not an easy process.

Q2. Make a 300 words presentation on any one of the following.

a. Global warming

          The life in this whole world is facing a natural catastrophe like floods, earthquakes, storms, cyclones, tsunamis, etc. The devastating effect of human-made catastrophe is already known to us. Global warming is a common term known to all. It is widely used through media. It means the rising average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. One of the major reasons is the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming is a major threat to the world. It has led to the demarcation between seasons. It becomes very difficult to distinguish between spring and summer. The most water bodies like glaciers retreat continuously. Global warming has totally changed the climate of the earth. Climate change has an impact not only on the environment but also on society and the economy. It may lead to floods, droughts, and finally, be the cause of the death of the living world. It is time to make efforts to control global warming by checking our own activities that are the main cause of this environmental issue.

Click to know more about global warming.

b. How can I contribute to a greener and healthier earth?

          Greenery is liked by all people even animals like to live in green forests. It supports us in many ways. It provides us many essentials to live a healthy and happy life. But it is only possible when we take care of it. There are many ways by which we can contribute the earth to make it green and healthy forever. We know that a human being needs a lot of things to live his day to day life. For shelter, he needs a house, the wood of which is obtained from trees. But if we cut a tree, we should plant more trees in place of it. Deforestation is the main cause of floods. If we plant more trees, we can make the earth healthier and greener. Checking your household activities on a daily basis. Avoid throwing garbage or household waste in open or in water bodies. If we take care of our environment, it will surely take care of us in turn.

c. Impact of smoke and fuel on human health.

          Human life is very precious. We should take care of our own health. Smoking and fuel have a great impact on human health. When fuel is used, it also creates smoke that makes the air more harmful to breathe in. We know all living things need certain kinds of gases to live. Animals need oxygen and plants need carbon dioxide. Air is a mixture of gases. Plants and animals obtain these gases from the air. If the same air gets polluted, the intake of this polluted air may cause many diseases in living beings. We should avoid the burning of garbage or fossil fuels. The vehicles should be checked and made pollution-free.

Q3 What are the environmental hazards that your city faces?

Ans. Global Warming, smoke, fuel, garbage is thrown in open, open defecation, deforestation, etc. are the environmental hazards that my city faces.

Q4 In what way felling of trees is an environmental hazard.

Ans. Felling of trees or deforestation is the major cause of global warming. Trees balance the gas level in the environment. Trees control floods, landslides, and soil erosions. If we continue cutting trees from forests, we will face a critical situation one day. Floods may occur which may lead to droughts. The food and water which are essential for life will decrease. Due to the scarcity of food and water, living beings will eat each other. All living beings will die. Ultimately, there will be no one to live on earth. So, it is not too late now. Make your environment clean and healthy by planting more trees. Protect it from the effects of the hazard and protect yourself.

Q5 Find out the environment-related news item in the leading local dailies. Paste the pictures and reports on your notebooks.

Ans. Homework for students.

Suggested Reading

Felling Trees by G. M. Hopkins

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