Some people and their ability to contemplate…

This whole thing is written to explain my view on something that went down in a classroom somewhere in Delhi. There was an interpretation and it didn’t sit well with me. As i see the ignorant view being adopted as the interpretation I am getting more infuriated. So let me interpret  the following poem as it is universally seen and why is it so.

On Killing a Tree by Gieve Patel

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
Years of sunlight, air, water,
And out of its leperous hide
Sprouting leaves.

So hack and chop
But this alone wont 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 exposed,
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,
And then it is done.


I see a gross misinterpretation of the above poem as people are thinking that its about corruption as exemplified by my peers below.

1. Corruption is like a tree. We can’t kill the tree by a simple jab of the knife. It has grown slowly consuming the earth. Hacking and chopping also won’t kill it. The root has to be pulled out of the anchoring earth.


2. The corruption has grown slowly consuming the bad mentality,the changing in the simple preaching wont stop it,we have to pulled out the bad mentality,the evil ideas from our mind.the ideas anchoring the mind.


I do believe literature is quite interpretive but you need to examine what the writer is all about and where he is coming from also the fact that the tree is considered in most of the context as the symbol of life and all things beautiful in this world.

Here the poet, line after line tries to show how the human beings are brutally butchering the flora also the line then it is done does signify a certain finality and an end to this brutality once it is done. You cannot end a thing that isn’t quantifiable like corruption or greed. I would this saying enough that the corruption aspect falls on its ass quite quickly as it hasn’t got much of context to be interpreted as corruption.

Then again if you look at how the poet decides to reveal to us some of the gory detail no less than in of a cold blooded murder of a person just to evoke emotions in the reader and awareness towards the fact that the tree which took many years to flourish was simply laid to death by the human species. And with “And then it is done” the writer just leaves that line to linger in our minds so as to say that there wasn’t any thought or introspective chain reaction was set forth which might in turn might make us think about the environmental issue of deforestation perhaps.


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