A Commentary On Philip Larkin's The Trees

1234 words - 5 pages

Philip Larkin is highly recognised as one of the poets whose poems revolve around poems of failure, demise, ageing, grief and such pessimistic and depressing issues. However, this poem “The Trees” of his doesn’t seem to contain any of these dark thoughts. This particular poem can labelled as a motivational poem. Nonetheless, Larkin does show his doubts and envies in some places. Also, we can see that this poem has a lot of phrases that cannot quite be articulated as a reader which probably shows Larkin’s unwillingness to further elaborate on the matter – matters that are vey difficult for him to speak about.
Larkin’s has used quite a number of sound effects in order for the ...view middle of the document...

Not only does Larkin provide sound effects by using vowel and consonant sounds but as we scan the lines we come across different stressed and unstressed words that provide us with a sense of sound effect. The poem has a regular meter i.e. Iambic Tetrameter. However, some places have metrical exceptions. Line 6 contains a spondee, (stressed stressed) “grow old”, here Larkin has also used assonant sounds with the vowel “O” which gives us the feeling of growing old. We see that the tone o f this line is somewhat serious, the stresses denotes one’s unwillingness to grow old, to become alive but live a life of restrictions waiting for death to approach us. Line 10, contains another metrical exception “the un rest” (unstressed unstressed stressed), here the stress is given on the word “rest” paired with an abrupt “un” which signifies that the no matter how aged the trees are they never seem to rest- they always contain the same amount of verve and energy. And, in some way the poet admires the spirit of the trees who are always full of life. Also, we can see that the pace of the line increases there which can be linked to the activities of the trees i.e. the vigorous swaying. Again in Line 10, Larkin makes use of a spondaic foot “grown thick” (stressed stressed) which again suggests the bulkiness of the tree. Furthermore, in Line 11 Larkin uses a trochee, (stressed unstressed) “Last year”, putting a stress on Last which denotes that whatever happened in the past was history. And that we should simply forget it and move along with time.
This poem doesn’t use any complex words but the simplest of words here have deep hidden meanings. As stated before, Larkin seems to be at doubt himself. For e.g. Line 2 goes, “Like something almost being said,” this line seems somewhat incomplete, especially with the word “almost”. We could say that the trees are saying something totally beyond the normal human understanding, so we have to step up and really try to infer the message the tree is trying to send us. Or, we could also say that Larkin is not quite sure about whether the trees are sending him a signal or not. We can very well see that the line contains a caesura after “something” which denotes the deep thinking about how Larkin’s is trying to figure out what message the tree has in...

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