Trees are to make cool shade in summer.
Trees are to make no shade in winter.
Trees are for apples to grow on, and pears;
Trees are to chop down and call, “TIMBER-R-R!”
Trees make mothers say,
“What a lovely picture to paint!”
Trees make fathers say,
“What a lot of leaves to rake this fall!”
The poet says that the major benefit of planting a tree is that it can provide shade in summer. Here it must be noted that the line is ironical, because the major reason for the intense heat during summer is the lack of enough trees. Planting more trees helps in reducing global warming. Global warming is the gradual heating of the earth's surface due to the emission of harmful green house gases. Trees reduce the amount of carbon-di-oxide in the earth's surface as they absorb them and keep them in control. Trees provide shelter even to stray animals who are affected by the heat. Intense heat during summer can also cause various diseases to humans. Trees help people to remain cool and disease free. The poet also states that trees exist to not give shade in winter. This line is meant in a sarcastic way to note that people forget the shade and benefits given by the tree in the summer as soon as the season changes to winter. In winter, there is considerably less heat and less need for shade. Trees are cut to build hotels and industries, which makes the forthcoming summer more restless with heat.
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A tree giving shade
Trees also have another major advantage, that they bear fruit. Although not all trees give fruits, most trees are known to bear fruit. The poet remarks that trees can give apples and also pears. This line is of huge significance as she seems to be referring to the fact that humans give more importance to trees that bear fruits like apples. Apples are supposedly costly fruits and one may not easily cut apple trees. On the contrary, pears are cheap fruits and easily available. The poet says that trees do not discriminate among humans or animals, and therefore humans should not either. People also cut trees for timber. Timber is used to make furniture or to make fire when one is cold. The poet funnily makes a word play and writes it in the same way a human may shout to his friends when he gets excited to cut down a tree for timber. She writes it as 'Timber-r-r'.
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Pear tree
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The poet also mentions how different genders perceive trees. When mothers look at it and think of the tree as a good setting which they can paint on their canvas, fathers are just worried about how they have to sweep and clean the leaves that have been shed. The season in this context is autumn. Autumn is a season when leaves are shed by the trees, the reason for which it is called as 'Fall'. When women tend to look at the beauty associated with the season and think of a way to create an impression, Men think of the work they have to do. They also think about collecting the leaves together to help make a fire or selling it for money.
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Leaves shed from trees during autumn
Words with difficult meaning:
ShadeA place that is cool and away from sunlight
PearsA fruit that is yellow or green outside and white inside
TimberLarge pieces of wood
ChopTo cut
IronicalThe opposite of what is being said
RakeTo sweep or clean
SarcasticUsing words to mock or make fun
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. Trees: Shirley Bauer(pp. 83-84). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.