A Heritage of Trees

English Poems Index

A Heritage of Trees :

I saw a man

Attack a tree today

The road from


To Ooty

About twenty miles along it

There you'll see a tragic sight.

A line of noble trees

Mutilated: branches ripped

Untimely from their trunks,

The trunks themselves

Wounded, lacerated

Some live attenuated

Cripples some

Have died :

Their sides

Browned by the sun

Their scabs and scars

Defy repair.

Those noble trees

Planted long since

By some sweet hand, some Ismail

Visveswaraya or unknown :

Or royal patronage :

Let them come now from some

More peaceful shade

To look once more

On their life's work.

Trees for the people?

Let all enjoy them

Hack them cut them up

So that the fires

That cook the village


Shall burn more hot.

Trees are our heritage

And ash so holy.

By David Horsburgh

About The Poem :

This poem
A Heritage of Trees is not a rhyming poem. There is no rhyme scheme. The lines are short and there is no metre. No line has a set number of beats. Compare this poem with some of the rhyming poems in this site. Note that in poetry some words can be left out : e.g. Attack a tree today (on) the road from Mysore to Ooty.

Can you say why the sentences are broken up as they are? You will have to read the poem a number of times to feel how the lines (and the thoughts) flow.

Words to Know :

Attenuated : reduced in force or value

Heritage : what is or may be left to us by someone who has lived before : an inheritance

Ismail : the son of Abraham, mentioned in the Bible, the Torah and the Koran. The Koran reports that Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House. The 'house' is the Kaaba in Mecca.

Lacerated : cut roughly

Long since : a long time ago

More peaceful shade : heaven

Mutilated : cut off : having limbs (branches) cut off

Royal patronage : the support given to others by a ruler

Tragic : sad : distressing

Untimely : not at the right time : too early : the trees are still living

Visveswaraya : Sir M. Visveswaraya, who became the Dewan of Mysore in 1912. An engineer, he was the true architect of modern Mysore.

English Poems Index

From A Heritage of Trees to HOME PAGE