The Laburnum Top By Ted Hughes| 11th NCERT

laburnum Tree

Warm Up

  • Could you please tell me the ,most famous trees grown in India?
  • Tell me some significant role and contribution of trees in our life.
  • What are the significance role of trees in some religion?
  • Why should we care the trees.
  • How is the life of plants are connected to human being?
  • Tell me any lesson you get from the existence of trees.
  • Did you see a laburnum tree ever in your life?


  1. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” — Greek ProverbThis proverb emphasizes the idea of planting trees and contributing to the well-being of future generations, highlighting the long-term benefits and selflessness of environmental stewardship.
  2. “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” — Ralph Waldo EmersonEmerson’s quote underscores the immense potential and power of small actions. Planting one tree can have a far-reaching impact on the environment and future generations.
  3. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese ProverbThis quote encourages immediate action and reminds us that it’s never too late to start making positive changes for the environment.
  4. “He who plants a tree plants hope.” — Lucy LarcomLarcom’s quote beautifully conveys the idea that planting a tree is not just an act of environmental conservation but also an act of optimism and a belief in a better future.
  5. “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John MuirMuir’s words emphasize the deep connection between humans and the natural world, suggesting that spending time in nature, among trees and plants, enriches our lives in ways we may not initially expect.

Text Of the Poem

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 suddenness, 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 a 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.

Central Idea of the Poem: The Laburnum Top

In this poem, the speaker describes a Laburnum tree on a quiet, sunny afternoon in September. The tree has shed most of its leaves and seeds, making it seem very still. But then, a goldfinch suddenly appears with a chirping sound at the end of one of the branches. The bird is sleek and alert as it enters the tree, and it’s like a machine starting with lots of chittering and wing flapping. The whole tree seems to shake and vibrate with life.

Summary of the Poem: The Laburnum Top

“The Laburnum” describes a Laburnum tree in a quiet, sunny afternoon in September. The tree appears motionless, with a few leaves turning yellow and all its seeds having fallen. However, the stillness is interrupted when a goldfinch suddenly arrives at the end of one of the branches. The goldfinch’s arrival is marked by a sudden, twitching chirrup, and it enters the tree swiftly, causing a flurry of activity. The bird’s movements are described as sleek and lizard-like, and it sets off a series of chittering sounds, wing tremors, and trillings throughout the tree. This activity is likened to an engine starting, and it becomes clear that the goldfinch is the central figure in her family. She stokes the activity, then briefly reveals her identity before launching away with a delicate, eerie whistle-chirrup. As the goldfinch departs, the Laburnum tree returns to its previous state of stillness.

Word- Meaning

  1. Laburnum: Laburnum is a type of flowering tree known for its bright yellow flowers and is often grown ornamentally.
  2. Chirrup: A chirrup is a brief, high-pitched sound or chirping noise often made by birds.
  3. Sleek: In this context, “sleek” means smooth and graceful in movement.
  4. Abrupt: Sudden or unexpected.
  5. Chitterings: Small, rapid, and high-pitched sounds, typically made by birds.
  6. Tremor: A trembling or shaking movement.
  7. Trillings: Repeated, high-pitched, musical sounds.
  8. Identity Mask: This phrase suggests that the goldfinch briefly reveals its true identity or appearance.
  9. Eerie: Strange and unsettling.
  10. Delicate: Fragile or gentle.

Critical Appreciation of the Poem: The Laburnum Top

  1. Simile:
    • “Sleek as a lizard”: This is a simile that compares the goldfinch’s movements to those of a sleek and agile lizard, emphasizing the bird’s grace and alertness.
  2. Personification:
    • “She stokes it full”: Personification is used to attribute human qualities (in this case, the action of stoking) to the goldfinch, as if she were tending to a machine.
  3. Metaphor:
    • “The whole tree trembles and thrills”: This metaphor compares the tree’s response to the goldfinch’s arrival to the sensations of trembling and thrilling, implying that the tree itself comes to life in reaction to the bird.
  4. Onomatopoeia:
    • “Chirrup,” “chitterings,” “tremor,” “trillings,” “whistle-chirrup”: These are examples of onomatopoeia, where words mimic the sounds they describe. They help create an auditory experience in the reader’s mind, immersing them in the scene.
  5. Hyperbole:
    • “The whole tree trembles and thrills”: This hyperbolic statement exaggerates the tree’s reaction to the goldfinch’s presence, emphasizing the intensity of the moment.
  6. Symbolism:
    • The goldfinch itself can be seen as a symbol of life, vitality, and sudden bursts of energy in the natural world. It represents the idea that nature can appear still on the surface but is full of activity and vibrancy beneath.

Describing Words for Plants and Trees

Abundant and thriving with healthy growth.

Verdant: Green with vegetation or covered in lush, greenery.

Flourishing: Growing and developing in a healthy and vigorous way.

Majestic: Having grandeur, beauty, or impressiveness.

Serene: Calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

Fragrant: Emitting a pleasant, sweet smell or fragrance.

Pristine: In its original, clean, and unspoiled condition.

Towering: Very tall and imposing in stature.

Enchanting: Delightfully charming or captivating

.Radiant: Emitting or reflecting a bright, glowing light or energy.

Vibrant: Full of energy, life, and color.

Tranquil: Quiet, calm, and free from disturbance.

Bountiful: Producing an abundant and generous supply.

Picturesque: Visually attractive and picturesque, like a beautiful painting.

Resplendent: Shining brilliantly or impressively.

Breathtaking: So stunning or awe-inspiring that it takes one’s breath away.

Mystical: Having a spiritual or mysterious quality that is beyond ordinary understanding.

Canopy: The uppermost layer of tree branches and leaves in a forest.

Blossoming: In the process of producing flowers or developing successfully.

Leafy: Covered with or having an abundance of leaves.

Describing Birds

  1. Colorful: Exhibiting a wide range of bright and vivid colors.
  2. Graceful: Moving with elegance, poise, and beauty.
  3. Ethereal: Delicate and otherworldly in appearance, like something from a dream.
  4. Majestic: Having a grand and impressive appearance, often associated with regal beauty.
  5. Exquisite: Extremely beautiful and finely detailed.
  6. Dazzling: Stunningly brilliant and captivating.
  7. Radiant: Emitting or reflecting a bright and glowing light or beauty.
  8. Charming: Attracting with a delightful and pleasing personality or appearance.
  9. Intricate: Containing many complex and detailed parts or patterns.
  10. Glorious: Filled with splendor and magnificence, often used to emphasize the beauty of something.
  11. Regal: Exhibiting a dignified and royal beauty or appearance.
  12. Sleek: Smooth and streamlined in shape, often used for birds with a polished and attractive appearance.
  13. Vibrant: Full of life, energy, and vivid colors, often used for describing the plumage of birds.
  14. Feathered: Covered in feathers, which can be visually stunning and diverse.
  15. Aesthetic: Having a pleasing and artistic quality.
  16. Enchanting: Captivating and charming in a magical or delightful way.
  17. Awe-inspiring: Filling observers with a sense of wonder and amazement.
  18. Picturesque: Visually attractive and picturesque, like a beautiful painting.

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