Class 11

Std.XI(Poetry) – 2.1 Cherry Tree – Analysis


The poem Cherry Tree is about the ecstasy of the poet over a plant which he has seeded eight years ago. It took eight years to grow. In the poem, Bond expresses his wonder at the ways of nature and how it takes care of itself to survive against all odds. Eight year ago, the poet planted a cherry seed because he wanted to have a plant of his own. The young poet watered it daily but was unaware of the fact that cherry plant needs other special care too to grow into a healthy tree. In spite of getting any special attention, by the end of May, the poet saw the small cherry sapling coming out of the ground. It was a very small plant, young and fragile, vulnerable to all kinds of external dangers. Tall wild grasses grew all around it and ‘the goats’ ate its ‘leaves’ and then one day the grass cutter’s blade mercilessly ‘split it apart’. Its tender stem also bravely fought the heavy monsoon and even after all these, the poet saw new shoots growing out of it as the young tree made its struggle against nature to survive and fiercely made an ‘upward thrust’ to get ‘light and air and sun’.
The poet could now just wait and watch while he took pleasure on seeing his small cherry plant blossoming into a tree as ‘Time and the rain’ nourished it and like a miracle the tree grew, too stubborn to give up. Then it was time for the poet to bid adieu to his beloved tree as he went to Kashmir to spend a season there. The poet returned after a few months poor in health and heart but was overjoyed to find a ‘six feet high’ dark cherry tree at his doorstep. To his disbelief, he saw a small berry fruit hanging from a branch, ‘Hung from a branch—just one! a small little pink and fragile berry that could fall at the single stir of wind.
In his ecstasy, the poet “lay on the grass” whole day at leisure to look up to the cherry tree as the “finches” flew past and birds flocked in and out of the tree and the bees drank nectar from each ‘bloom’. Soon it was dark and stars lit the whole night sky and the ‘moon-moths’ and crickets sang. As the poet enjoyed the rapture of nature and felt himself akin with it, he marveled at his own creation, the small cherry plant that has grown into a big tree over the span of eight years. In the ending couplet, the poet associates himself with the nature and creator, as he takes pride for being part of it. Cherry Tree is therefore, the poet’s rumination about the ways of nature as it participates in the process of creation. It is the struggle of each living object to fight and survive despite all odds.

scythe – a tool with a long curved blade at right angle to a long handle used to cut long grass and grain. 

blight – a plant disease, typically one caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts

shrivelled – dried or wrinkled or shrunken due to lack of moisture

slender – thin, struggle – making forceful against odds

thrust – to push with sudden impulse or force

fierce – aggressive

lust – strong desire

miracle – a welcoming or happy event developing by chance that cannot be explained with reason or science

scarcely – almost not

ripended (ripen)– become or make ripe

jeweled – adorned with jewels

blossoms – flowers that bloom on trees

fragile – weak

finches – a small passerine bird

flitted – pass lightly, softly or rapidly

dappled – marked with rounded dark patches

ecstasy – a feeling of greatest happiness

nector – a sweet fluid secreted by flowers

moon-moths – a large pale long green moth

crickets – an insect, characteristic for its musical chirping sound.
Ice Breakers:-
Activity- Trees are revered because:-
a) They give us joy.
b) They give us oxygen, food, wood, flowers, cotton and shelter.
c) They keep balance of the environment.
d) They give us shadow.
e) They prevent soil erosion, flood and landslide.
f) They bring rainfall.
Activity– Column A shows your involvement in growing a tree, as well as the stages in the life of a tree. Column B shows the feelings you experience at all the stages. Match them appropriately.
1. You planted a sapling.
You wanted to make a humble beginning.
2. You watered the plant.
You cared for it.  
3. You saw the shoot for the first.
The new experience brought excitement to you.
4. You fenced the plant.
Your motive was to protect it.
5. The plant gradually saw lush green leaves grow on it.
The colour, symbolizing life, gave you a feeling of hope.
6. The tree had buds too.
Gave you a feeling of joy to see the promising future.
7. Birds made a nest on the tree which was fully grown and laden with flowers.
 You were happy and satisfied because you experienced what you had often heard, that small beginnings can lead to great achievements.
Activity- The thought which prompted the poet to plant the cherry seed-
1) —————
1) To have his own plant

2) ————— 3) ————— 4) ————— were a threat.
2) Goats
3) Grass cutter
4) Monsoon (heavy rains) which caused a plant disease.
Activity- State whether the following statements are true or false:

1. They destroyed the Cherry tree.
Answer- False
Nobody destroyed the cherry tree. It grew very well.
2. The Cherry tree had an instinct to survive.
Answer- True
Activity- True or false
The blossoms are fragile———– (True/ false)
Answer- True
Activity- Complete the statements
1) The poet felt richer because—————
Answer- he had a cherry tree at his door.
2) The beneficiaries of the cherry tree are—————
Answer- bees, moon – moths, crickets and the poet.


(A1) (i) Find proof from the poem for the following.

(a) The poet has mentioned different seasons.
Answer-Summer:- And suddenly that summer near the end of May.
Monsoon:- Split it apart and a monsoon blight.       
Spring:- Next spring I watched three new shoots grow.

(b) The poet’s minute observations of the steady growth of the cherry tree.
Answer-The steady growth of the cherry tree shown in these following lines.
I found a tree had come to stay.
It was very small, five months child,
Lost in the tall grass running wild.

(c) The colour imagery in the poem.
Answer- Colour imagery in the poem:-
Green growing pain (Dappled green),
blossom small pink,
blue blind sky

(d) The struggle of the cherry tree for survival.
Answer- The struggle of the cherry tree for survival has shown in the following lines-
The young tree struggle, upward thrust
Its arms in a fresh fierce lust
For light and air and sun.

A1) (ii) State whether the following statements are True or False. Correct the false statements by finding evidence from the poem to support your remark.

(a) The cherry tree did not take long to grow.
Answer- False
The cherry tree took eight years long to grow.

(b) Birds and insects were benefitted from the tree.

(c) The poet was exalted at the sight of the cherry tree.

(d) The poem has an underlying message about the importance of trees.

(e) The poet repents planting the cherry tree.
The poet praised planting the cherry tree.

(A2) (i) Discuss in groups, reasons/ consequences/ effects:

(a) The life of the cherry tree was threatened.
 Answer- The life of the cherry tree was threatened because of goats grazing, grass cutters and monsoon. The cherry tree has no leaves and stem. It gets dried. But as the spring arrives, new shoots grow. The young tree struggles for light, air and sun.
(b) The cherry blossomed.
Answer- Initially the cherry tree bore just one berry. It was not so good. But the next year the tree was blossomed. The poet, bees, moon – moths and crickets were much excited. They became the beneficiary of it.
(ii) A small thought, put in action, led to a great achievement. Pick out the lines from the beginning and end of the poem and explain their significance.
Line- Eight years have passed since I placed my cherry seed in the grass.
This is the normal work that the poet did.
Line- It was very small, five months child.
The tree survived and showed growth struggling in the adverse situations.
Line- Next spring I watched three new shots grow.
The progress of the tree continues
Line- But richer by a cherry tree at my door.
Glorifies the importance of the tree considering himself rich due to tree.
Line- That small, the cherry, grown by me.
Great achievement as the tree survived and stayed.

(A3) The cherry tree has inspired the poet to compose the poem. Such poems, describing Nature or aspects of Nature are called ‘Nature poems’. Find out some expressions from the poem that bring out the elements of beauty of Nature.

Answer- In the poem the following references show the elements of beauty of Nature-
1) Next spring I watched three new shoots grow.
2) Made a miracle from green growing pain.
3) But richer by a cherry tree at my door
4) Ripened and jeweled in the sun.
5) And next year there were blossoms small pink, fragile, quick to fall.
6) While bees in an ecstasy drank ——–in the sky.
(A4) (i) Read the line.
Pink, fragile, quick to fall
Notice the arrangement of the words in the line:
They move from healthy to delicate
This figure of speech is called Climax where successive words, phrases, sentences are arranged in ascending order of importance. Here, the cherry blossom turns pink, ripens and is ready to be picked.

(ii) Find out examples from the poem.
Alliteration :
1. Its arms in a fresh fierce lust. : A consonantal sound ‘f’ is repeated pleasingly.
2. Made a miracle from green growing pain. : A consonantal sound ‘g’ is repeated rhythmically.
Antithesis :
1. but cherries have a way of growing,
Though no one’s caring very much or knowing. : Opposite idea of growing without caring is seen in the line.
Personification :
1. A Tree had come to stay : A tree has attributed human quality of coming and staying.
2. Its arms in a fresh fierce lust : A tree is described as having arms like human beings.

(A5) (i) Cherry tree is a narrative poem. Features that make it a narrative poem are given below. Justify them with proper examples.
a) The poem has a beginning, a middle and an end – It begins with a planting of a cherry seed. It survives overcoming adversities and at the end blossoms.
b) Different places are mentioned- The poet’s residence and Kashmir.
c) Characters are referred to – The poet, grass cutters, bees, cricket and moon moths are the characters referred to in the poem.
d) Incidents are arranged in sequence- The activities and growth of the tree are given in a sequence.
e) There is a dialogue between the poet and the reader or the characters of the poem.-    “ Must have a tree of my own,” I said.
                        I found a tree that had come to stay.
                        Next spring I watched three new shoots grow.
                        Yes, I! – praised Night and Stars and tree:                 
f)  It is a time-bound poem. It deals with a particular time of the year and showed different changes in atmosphere and the tree.

(ii) Compose 8 to 10 line. Narrate any incident in your life without using any rhyming pattern.
                        I decided to plant a tree.
                        But it was not easy to do it.
                        I didn’t have a place to plant.
                        I was lining in a flat.
                        It had no courtyard.
                        So I bought plastic trees.
                        They had no need to give water and soil
                        But it also didn’t have any life and growth.

iii) Write an appreciation of the poem considering the following points.

 •About the poem, poet and title.
The poem deals with the poet’s feeling of great joy over a tree which he planted and took eight years to grow.
The poet Ruskin Bond belongs to India. He considered himself richer having a cherry tree at his door. He felt proud for planting his own tree.
Title of the poem is related to the central character i.e. cherry tree whose journey from planting to upward growth to blossomed tree is given.

 •Theme / Summary/ Gist of the poem.
    It has the theme of struggle, resilience, dedication, conflict, growth, responsibility and pride.

The poem depicts a small of action of planting a cherry tree which led to a great achievement giving benefit to bees, moon-moths, cricket and the poet. 

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