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CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Trees Poem Summary & Notes

The Trees Class 10th CBSE

Chapter 5 of the Class 10 English Book, ‘First Flight’, comprises a poem, The Trees, by  Adrienne Rich. She achieved fame as a poet, essayist, and feminist. This poem shows a clash and struggle between mankind and nature. Here’s a simple summary & detailed explanation of the poem.

CBSE Class 10 English The Trees Summary

The poem, as indicated by its title, revolves around trees. It reflects on how humans have selfishly destroyed forests and chopped them down. The poet says that trees used for urban decor are trapped or confined. Humans have imprisoned trees within their homes to meet their needs. The poetess argues that they belong in the forest, so keeping them indoors is an unlawful act. The poem highlights how everyone desires freedom and advises us to honor nature’s laws instead of trying to control them as it’s essential for development and well-being.

The Trees Poem Explanation

We’ve also included the poem below to make it easier for students to understand. This way, they can read the poem and its meaning together.

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.

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.

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.

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.


In the first stanza, the poetess describes the forest as the true home of trees. She uses trees as a metaphor to illustrate how humans have drastically devastated forests. Trees, representing a crucial element of biodiversity, have been relentlessly harvested to satisfy human demands, only to be confined within their homes.  Now, the poetess poetically narrates a symbolic return of the trees to their rightful place in the forest, which has long suffered from desolation. This movement signifies a pivotal moment for ecological rejuvenation. In this emptiness, birds couldn’t perch on branches, insects couldn’t seek shelter, and sunlight couldn’t filter through the tree canopy. However, with the trees beginning to move, the once-empty forest will be filled with trees by the next morning.

In the second stanza, Adrienne Rich vividly describes their determined struggle to free themselves from the confines of mankind. The poetess describes how the tree roots toil all night to free themselves from veranda cracks. Leaves strain against the glass to break the ceiling, while stems toughen from the continuous effort. Limited space causes branches to shrink. As trees slowly depart, they resemble discharged hospital patients, puzzled by their return to the forest.

In the third stanza, the poetess says she sits on the veranda with doors wide open, writing lengthy letters. She barely mentions the departure of trees to their empty forest. As night falls and the moon illuminates the sky, the fragrance of leaves and lichen drifts toward her. The aroma of trees reaches her like a voice echoing through a room.

Lastly, the poetess listens to the tree’s departing whispers as they leave the house. By the next day, they reach the empty forest, leaving the house silent and empty. Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass fills the air. The trees hurry, causing them to fall over one another. They sense the wind’s urgency as if it’s eager to reunite with them. The Trees being tall, shatter the moon into fragments, resembling a crown above the head of the oak trees.

We trust that this summary of the CBSE Class 10 English First Flight Poem “The Trees” has provided you with a quick grasp of the poem. Stay connected with GK Publications for the latest updates on CBSE and study materials. Explore sample papers and question papers from various years to enhance your preparation for the Board Exams.

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