Gieve Patel

(18 August 1940 - / Mumbai / India)

On Killing A Tree - Poem 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.

No,
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.


(From POEMS, published by Nissim Ezekiel, Bombay 1966)


Comments about On Killing A Tree by Gieve Patel

  • Rookie - 0 Points Kathan Bandyopadhyay (12/1/2014 12:56:00 AM)

    it is a sarcastic poem and perhaps the best best comment on the major environmental issue of the earth (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, June 19, 2012


[Hata Bildir]