On killing a tree

on killing a tree by Gieve Patel summary and analysis

“On Killing a Tree” is a powerful poem that explores the theme of the destructive relationship between humans and nature. The poem is structured in four stanzas, each of which builds on the previous one to create a sense of increasing tension and violence. We have provided on killing a tree by Gieve Patel summary :

On Killing a Tree QNA

Table of Contents

Stanza 1

It takes much time to kill a tree, ……. leaves.

In the first stanza, the speaker acknowledges the difficulty of killing a tree, noting that it takes much time and effort to do so. The tree is described as having grown slowly, consuming the earth and absorbing years of sunlight, air, and water. The leperous hide of the tree suggests that it has been scarred or wounded, but it still manages to sprout leaves, showing that it is resilient and able to thrive.

Stanza 2

So hack and chop…..To former size.

In the second stanza, the speaker describes the violent methods used to kill a tree, such as hacking and chopping at its trunk. However, the speaker notes that these methods are not enough to kill a tree. The bleeding bark of the tree will heal, and new growth will emerge. The speaker suggests that the tree has its own natural defenses that allow it to withstand attacks from humans.

Stanza 3

No, The root is to be pulled out -…..inside the earth

In the third stanza, the speaker asserts that to kill a tree, the root must be pulled out entirely. The root is described as being the source of the tree’s strength and vitality, hidden for years inside the earth. The process of removing the root is described as violent and involves roping, tying, and snapping the root out of the earth.

Stanza 4

Then the matter…And then it is done.

In the final stanza, The speaker describes the condition of the tree after pulling out its root. Then the tree is exposed to the sun and air and begins to wither and twist until it is finally dead.


The poem is a commentary on the destructive relationship between humans and nature, suggesting that our efforts dominate and control nature come at a high cost. The tree is a powerful symbol of nature’s resilience and strength, and the act of killing it is seen as a violation of the natural order. The violent methods used to kill the tree highlight the destructive nature of human actions and the need to respect the natural world.

Overall, “On Killing a Tree” is a powerful reminder of the importance of living in harmony with nature and acknowledging the power and importance of the natural world. The poem suggests that nature has its own resilience and strength and that humans cannot simply overpower it without consequences.

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