The Laburnum Top

The Laburnum Top :

The Laburnum Top is silent, quite still

in the afternoon yellow September sunlight,

A few leaves yellowing, all its seeds fallen

Till the goldfinch comes, with a twitching chirrup

A suddeness, a startlement,at a branch end

Then sleek as a lizard, and alert and abrupt,

She enters the thickness,and a machine starts up

Of chitterings, and of tremor of wings,and trillings -

The whole tree trembles and thrills

It is the engine of her family.

She stokes it full, then flirts out to a branch-end

Showing her barred face identity mask

Then with eerie delicate whistle-chirrup whisperings

She launches away, towards the infinite

And the laburnum subsides to empty

By Ted Hughes

Important Words :

Laburnum : The Golden Chain tree - A commonly found tree with golden flowers that hang in bunches

Laburnum Top : The top of the laburnum tree - its highest branches

Goldfinch : Wild canary - A small, yellow bird - The male of the species has black markings across the face, on the wings and tail.

Twitch : Small, often involuntary movement of a body part

Chirrup : An onomatopoeic word capturing the sound made by a bird

Startlement : Amazement - a sudden unexpected action which causes surprise

Sleek : Smooth - In the context of the poem, it could imply a quick movement without much disruption.

Abrupt : Sudden or unexpected

Chittering : An onomatopoeic word capturing bird sounds

Tremor : Shiver - shake

Trillings : Singing repeatedly - In the context of the poem, an onomatopoeic word, capturing bird sounds

Stokes : Adds fuel - In the context of the poem, the goldfinch feeds its family, providing the fuel (nutrition) that the machine (the bird's family) needs to be energetic

Flirts : In the context of the poem, move abruptly or jerkily with light steps

Eerie : Strange in a frightening or mysterious way

Infinite : In the context of the poem, the sky

Launches : In the context of the poem, flies

Subsides : Returns, reduces in intensity

The Laburnum Top

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