The Trees Poem Poetic Devices Class 10 English Poems

The poetic devices (literary elements) used in the poem ‘The Trees’ are given here. Poetic devices enhance the effectiveness and appeal of the poems in the mind of the readers. the Poem ‘The Trees’ is a good example of imagery and metaphor in conveying the thoughts of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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Poetic Devices used in the poem ‘The Trees’


The trees inside are moving out into the forest,
the forest that was empty all these days
where no bird could sit
no insect hide
no sun bury its feet in shadow
the forest that was empty all these nights
will be full of trees by morning.

Literally the poet sees that the trees in his house are moving outside into the forest which has been empty for a long time, but the word ‘trees’ has been used as an imaginary by the poet to show the destroyed forests and the false nature that humans have tried to keep in their houses for creating a false impression of nature or for decoration. Since the forest outside was vacant, no birds could sit on the branches of trees, no insects could hide in the trees and sunlight could never disappear under the shadows of the trees. The poet says that as the trees are moving out, the forests which were empty all these nights will be full of trees by the morning.

All night the roots work
to disengage themselves from the cracks
in the veranda floor.
The leaves strain toward the glass
small twigs stiff with exertion
long-cramped boughs shuffling under the roof
like newly discharged patients
half-dazed, moving
to the clinic doors.

The stanza is devoted toward showing efforts of the ‘trees’ to leave the house to fill in or replenish the forests. The roots of the tree work all night to free themselves through the cracks on the Veranda floor. The leaves of the trees try very hard to put a lot of pressure on the glass window so that they could break it and go outside. The small twigs have become very hard due to applying so much pressure to free themselves. The larger branches of the trees have shrunk and had bent because of being inside all the walls and under the roof, where they cannot grow much. Trees try to move slowly from there and look like newly discharged patients from a hospital, who become half-shocked on coming to the outside world.

I sit inside, doors open to the veranda
writing long letters
in which I scarcely mention the departure
of the forest from the house.
The night is fresh, the whole moon shines
in a sky still open
the smell of leaves and lichen
still reaches like a voice into the rooms.

The poet sits in her house, writing long letters, with the doors of house opening to the Veranda. She mentions in her letters about the trees that are moving out to the empty forest. It is a full moon night where the moon is shining in the open sky and the night is very fresh. The smell of leaves and lichens reaches the poet like a voice coming from the rooms of the house.

My head is full of whispers
which tomorrow will be silent.
Listen. The glass is breaking.
The trees are stumbling forward
into the night. Winds rush to meet them.
The moon is broken like a mirror,
its pieces flash now in the crown
of the tallest oak.

The poet listens to the sounds coming from the leaves and lichens of the trees. These sounds will not be there in the morning as the trees will move out to the forest in the night and will not be in the house by morning. Now, the poet can hear the glass breaking due to the efforts of the twigs. The trees hurry outside stumbling on each other. As the trees go in the open, it seems like the wind is moving fast towards them to meet them. After going out into the forest, the tall trees stand straight in the forest. Its branches cover the moon due to which it looks like a broken mirror. The broken pieces of the moon seem like a crown of the tallest oak tree.


Empty—vacant, | Bury—to hide thing in sand etc, | Insect—small arthropod, | Shadow—shade, | Strain—tension, pressure, make efforts to move | Stiff—hard, | Long-cramped— restricted for long from moving, | Shuffling—changing place, | Discharge—to grant permission to leave, | Disengage themselves— to set free or separate themselves | Twig—branch, | Exertion—try, effort | Bough—branch, | Dazed—surprised, stunned, here it means weak in mind and body due to long illness | Clinic— hospital, | Scarcely—hardly, | Departure— starting of something to move away, | Mention—to refer briefly, | Lichen—a plant that is found in still water, | Head—mind, | Whisper—conversation in low voice, | Silent—quiet, | Stumble—falter or fall while moving, | Winds—strong air, | Rush—run, | Flash—to shine, | Crown—the upper branches and leaves of a tree, |


Rhyme scheme: There is no rhyme scheme in the poem. It’s written in ‘free verse’

Imagery: The words and phrases in the poem create their visual representations in mind. It is done through the use of figurative language to create pictures and visuals in the mind of the readers to convey the views and thoughts of the poet. In short, the poem floats and moves through or imagination.

The whole poem keeps creating visuals in our mind about the struggle of the trees and different incidents and happenings associated with it.

See the following examples:

  • The trees inside are moving out into the forest.
  • The forest that was empty all these days
    where no bird could sit …
  • Like newly discharged patients
    half-dazed, moving
    to the clinic doors …..
  • The glass is breaking
    The trees are stumbling forward ….
  • Its pieces flash now in the crown of the tallest oak.

Simile: It is used to draw a clear comparison between two or more things or people having same qualities using words ‘like’ and ‘as’.

  • Like newly discharged patients.
  • Still reaches like a voice into the rooms.
  • The moon is broken like a mirror.

Repetition: Words or lines are repeated to emphasise a feeling or idea, create rhythm, and or develop a sense of urgency.

‘The forest that was empty’ (in the first stanza)

Personification: A prominent figure of speech in which a thing is given human attributes.

See the following examples as how the trees, the sun and the winds are shown as behaving like human beings.

  • The trees inside are moving out into the forest.
  • No sun bury its feet in shadow.
  • All night the roots work.
  • Winds rush to meet them.

Symbolism: The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.

The poet uses ‘the trees’ to connote the significance of forests and raise the issue of ‘deforestation’

People keep plants and trees in their homes and have the false impression that it can replace the lost forests. The poet uses the trees as symbolism to say that the issue of deforestation can be tackled only by planting trees.

Alliteration: A literary device in which a series of words begin with same consonant sound.

Example: long letters, leaves and lichen

Anaphora: Anaphora is a rhetorical device where a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences.

In the first stanza, the repetition of the word “the” in the first two lines.

Metaphor: Metaphor is a literary device used to represent a comparison without using the words “like” or “as”.

The poet uses ‘trees’ metaphorically to represent helplessness of woman in the patriarchal society. The metaphor extends throughout the poem and therefor the poem is a good example of ‘extended metaphor’.

The struggles of the nature or trees to be freed from the confinements of man is compared to that of the
women’s struggle for the same to get freedom from the men dominated society.

Enjambment: Enjambment is a poetic technique in which a sentence or phrase is continued over multiple lines of poetry, without a pause or break at the end of each line.

The poem is a good example of enjambment. Every stanza of this poem has lines continuing to next lines without punctuation.

For example: In the lines below, no punctuation has been used by the poet.

the forest that was empty all these days
where no bird could sit
no insect hide
no sun bury its feet in shadow
the forest that was empty all these nights

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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Samriddhi

    I think you missed enjambment.

    1. Sirji

      Thank you, Samriddhi for pointing out this literary device as missing. Now the devices have been updated.

      1. Kishore Kumar c

        You have missed a alliteration in third stanza

        1. Sirji

          All are not given. Just a few to inform that alliteration is there.

  2. Kishore Kumar.L

    You have missed a alliteration in the third stanza. That is sky still both starting with S

    1. Sirji

      only a few examples are given to show the use of poetic device alliteration. There may be many.


    awesome page

  4. Chapri

    Missed enjambment in third stanza

  5. Varsha

    Here the poet does not mention this in her letters. Plz correct

  6. Harini

    very useful and well written page

  7. Swastika suryavanshi

    Missed Anaphora in first stanza.

  8. Prassana

    It is long letters not long leaves in alliteration

  9. Sukriti

    Nice….but you missed Anaphora in the first stanza


    thw with is in small letters

  11. MRS. S

    THanks this helped me a lot

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