CBSE NCERT Class 9 English Beehive On Killing a Tree Poem Summary and Notes

Chapter 8 of the CBSE Class 9 English Beehive book features a poem titled “On Killing a Tree.”
Gieve Patel wrote the poem. We have simplified and explained the CBSE Class 9 English Beehive On Killing a Tree Poem below.
The explanation is in the form of CBSE Class 9 English Notes and will help students in understanding the poem’s content and primary theme.
They may also use these notes to help them prepare for their English paper. These have been published by topic specialists in plain English for the advantage of students.

Students may also learn how to write an excellent essay during the test by reading the writings at SkillYogi

CBSE Class 9 English notes will assist students in studying the topic thoroughly and clearly.

These CBSE Class 9 English notes were written by subject experts who made the study material very basic, both in terms of language and format.


Stanza 1


It takes much time to kill a tree,

Not a simple jab of the knife

Will do it. It has grown

Slowly consuming the earth,

Rising out of it, feeding

Upon its crust, absorbing

Years of sunlight, air, water,

And out of its leprous hide

Sprouting leaves.



In this stanza, the poet expresses his thoughts on the manner in which a person cuts down a tree in order to accomplish his or her goals.

According to the poet, it is difficult to cut down a tree because a single jab of the knife will never be enough to put an end to its existence.

The reason for its strength is that it consumes the resources that it has obtained from the earth’s crust in such a powerful manner.

Years of absorption of sunlight, air, and water have resulted in the earth’s growth becoming so perfect that a jab with a knife will do little to alter it.

It will reappear with leaves and continue to grow at its current rate.

Stanza 2


So hack and chop

But this alone wont do it.

Not so much pain will do it.

The bleeding bark will heal

And from close to the ground

Will rise curled green twigs,

Miniature boughs

Which if unchecked will expand again

To former size.



In this stanza, the poet goes into greater detail about the various methods of tree cutting.

Given that the initial jab of the knife was insufficient, the poet advises us to attack the tree with force, using hacking and chopping techniques.

However, the poet points out that even this will not be sufficient to bring down the tree.

This hacking and chopping would cause the tree discomfort, but it would not be severe enough to kill it.

The bark will ooze (leak) out with the liquid secretion, but over time, the gels will heal and the bark will be regenerated.

The fighting spirit of the tree will then resurrect it and restore it to life.

It will resurrect from close to the ground, bringing forth new leaves and small boughs to begin a new cycle of life.

These will restore the tree’s glory to the point where it will regain its former size. As a result, it is difficult to cut down or kill a tree.

Stanza 3



The root is to be pulled out

Out of the anchoring earth;

It is to be roped, tied,

And pulled out-snapped out

Or pulled out entirely,

Out from the earth-cave,

And the strength of the tree exposed

The source, white and wet,

The most sensitive, hidden

For years inside the earth.


The poet has discussed the various methods of killing the tree in the previous stanzas, but the tree has managed to survive, prompting the poet to come up with another idea.

He claims that the root must be dug up and removed from the ground, where it has accumulated its strength.

In order to accomplish this, one must first rope the roots and then pull the entire mass outside.

When the roots are exposed to the sun or the surrounding environment, the actual strength of the tree is revealed, as opposed to when the roots are enclosed in the earth cave.

The tree’s life source, which is its roots, is now exposed and out in the open, and the tree’s root matter is wet and moist due to the absorption of water.

It is now exposed to the elements of the outside world.

This marks the beginning of the tree’s demise, as the tree’s life-giving source, its roots, are exposed for the first time.

Stanza 4

Then the matter

Of scorching and choking

In sun and air,

Browning, hardening,

Twisting, withering,

And then it is done.


In the previous stanza, the poet discussed the process by which a tree is uprooted and left exposed to the elements of the environment.

When a tree is uprooted and left exposed in the surrounding area, the sun’s drying heat causes the surrounding area to become parched.

The intense heat causes the tree’s root to become entrapped in the air and sunlight, resulting in death.

Heal turns the root brown, which was previously white, and hardens it by soaking up all of the moisture content in the environment.

After that, the root begins to twist away from its original shape and eventually gels withered from its constituent parts.

Finally, this brings the tree’s life to a close, and that is exactly how it is accomplished in the end.

Throughout the poem, the poet takes us on a detailed journey through the process of killing a tree, the suffering it endures, and how harsh our attitude is toward the trees that provide us with the oxygen we breathe.

Central Idea Of The Poem


Gieve Patel’s poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ is a symbolic composition in the form of a prose poem.

As deeply ingrained in us as evil is, the tree is equally ingrained in us.

We should make every effort to completely eliminate them.

At times, it appears that we have gotten rid of these evils, but they reappear before our eyes as a tree grows if it is not properly pruned.

We must use all of our resources to remove them from the ground.

Another point of view held by the poet is that once we begin a task, we must see it through to completion.

A job that is only half finished is not a job at all.

As a result, the poet advocates for the completeness of a piece of work.

This will instil a sense of responsibility and common sense in one’s approach to their assignments.



1. Can a “simple jab of the knife” kill a tree? Why not?

Answer: No, a simple jab of the knife would not be sufficient to kill a tree, as it will eventually heal itself if not completely uprooted. Only chopping or cutting it will not kill it, as it will gradually rise to its original size.

2. How has the tree grown to its full size? List the words suggestive of its life and activity.

Answer: The tree reaches its full size after years of absorbing sunlight, water, and air. The tree has grown to its full height gradually devouring the earth and emerging from it. For years, it fed on the earth’s crust, absorbing sunlight, air, and water.

Consuming, rising, feeding, and absorbing are the verbs.

3. What is the meaning of ‘bleeding bark’? What makes it bleed?

Answer: The ‘bleeding bark’ refers to the bark of the tree which gives out a liquid after it is cut or hurt. Hacking and chopping the tree make its bark bleed.

4. The poet says “No” in the beginning of the third stanza. What does he mean by this?

Answer: The poet begins the third stanza with the word “No” to emphasise that a tree cannot be killed simply by a knife slash or by hacking and chopping.

5. What is the meaning of ‘anchoring earth’ and ‘earth cave’?

Answer: The term ‘anchoring earth’ refers to the soil that conceals the tree’s roots. ‘Earth cave’ is another term for the same thing. The soil and the tree’s roots form a very tight grip, similar to an anchor, which keeps the tree rooted. As a cave provides shelter, the earth provides shelter for the roots.

6. What does the poet mean by ‘the strength of the tree exposed’?

Answer: The roots of the tree provide the tree with its strength. They secure it to the earth. They are the tree’s source of nutrients. When a tree is yanked from the earth’s soil, these become exposed, and the tree dies.

7. What finally kills the tree?

Answer: When the tree’s roots are exposed to the elements, it dies. The sun’s scorching heat and the surrounding air suffocate it. It eventually loses all of its leaves and turns brown. It dies as a result of twisting, hardening, and drying.

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