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





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