THE TREES. BY Philip Larkin. The Trees. The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new
BY Philip Larkin
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
*a twelve-line poem
*compare the life and cycles of a tree to human experience
*use of personification of leaves, buds, and bark as spoken words, grief, and many other abstract items
*relating the anatomy and activity of a tree to the emotions and philosophy of a human closing and opening various chapters in his or her life.
*the twelve lines of the poem are arranged into four-line stanzas.
*In each stanza, the first and fourth line rhyme with one another in a true rhyme pattern
*the second and third lines work in an additional true rhyme
*In complete, this rhyme scheme appears in the following pattern: A B B A - C D D C - E F F E
Line 7, 8
*Literal meaning: the growth pattern of a tree, the growing part of the tree is at the outer edges, under the bark. The cross-section of the trunk reveals the pattern of alternating thick and thin circles( the tree’s growth ring ). Although a tree appears to be reborn and new each spring, its age and processes are shown on the inside.
*select words are presented to the reader almost as sound effects (thresh, afresh). These words, when spoken aloud, sounds like the leaves of trees would when being rustled by the wind. As this poem comments on the passage of time and a cycle of death and rebirth, could these winds perhaps be the winds of change?
many perspectives can be taken from these lines
*the understanding that although human beings begin new experiences and new chapters in their lives, their old experiences will always be with them. It is an individual's experiences, after all, that make up who they are. Much like a tree, a person will never fully lose the years that have passed them by, and the valuable experience will collect inside them like rings of grain.
deceit, disguise, and denial
*It’s the idea that although the tree itself does its best to hide the layers of death and destruction resulting from its natural cycle, there are always other means of judging its age.
-the pure size of a tree
-presence of or lack of vegetation surrounding its base.
*Similarly, many human beings choose to partake in age-defying treatments such as botox, cosmetic surgery, or chemical creams.
For a line to line analysis go to :