Laburnum Tree Poem by Maki Kureishi: Summary & Analysis

Please find below our complete notes on the poem “Laburnum Tree” by Maki Kureishi. These notes comprise of the background, summary, themes, and an analysis of the poem.

Laburnum Tree by Maki Kureishi:

This is not your season

Splotched by passing tucks and slapped

By brutal winds, your branches are

Inhospitable to birds. Winter

Plucks you to a spare

Rattle of twigs. ’Dead’! think passersby;

Not suspecting when April begins

cautiously to unwind tendril

and modest bud,  that every branch

will hang blossoms

like a thousand  chandeliers

opulent with light.

If the sky’s blue it’s to set off

that elemental yellow. If the wind

blows gently it’s to display

the shaping of each flowerlet. Rooted

you turn slowly to create

our transient spring .The landscape

Stops at your foot….observing

how you struggle to retrench

your lavishness.But the petals wont

stop falling .So now you wait.desolate

in green, through the long hard-hitting months;

your sap still rioting flowers.

Laburnum Tree Introduction:

The poem, on the surface, talks about the Laburnum tree but is having encapsulated meanings as well. The Laburnum tree is dead-like in winter; it can never be a host to birds or eyes searching for pleasant and serene scenes. But it blossoms with its full swing in April, when its every part becomes alive; it hosts birds and become the center of attention of every eye looking for the serene beauty in the woods. The poem is, in fact, dedicated to Pakistani English writers; she celebrates the struggle of Laburnum tree (Pakistani writers) as they have struggled a lot to achieve the rankings because in the very start they were given no attention and importance in the market.

Laburnum Tree Summary:

In the first four lines, the poetess addresses the Laburnum tree that winter is hostile to you when it is in full mood with its freezing winds, brutal and cool water because this season is not your season to flourish and nourish. She tells the laburnum tree that this winter has blown away all your buds and branches; the brutal slaps of this wind of winter has badly damaged you, and it has seriously challenged your existence. She adds that because your look is so weary and awful which even repel the birds; the birds always look for fresh and green branches where they can feed upon, but this laburnum tree is weary in winter, so, the birds go away from it.

In lines 4-6, the poetess continues to say that the winter brings calamities to this laburnum tree: this tree becomes nothing but a rattle of twigs. She means to say that this laburnum tree is more like something crumbling and the rustling of leaves can be heard far and wide. She, in this line, vey beautifully portrays the image of falling branches of the laburnum tree which are resonating in the air. She then adds that this condition of the laburnum tree in the winter is such miserable that all the passerby people think it as dead. This shows the fragile look of the laburnum tree affected by winter.

From line 7-12, the poet draws a very bright image of the laburnum tree. She mocks the people who consider the laburnum tree as dead in the season of winter. She says that these people never think about the spring which changes the whole overlook of laburnum tree. When the April begins, she says, the laburnum tree will blossom. All the buds will blossom fully and will get ripened. She compares the branches of laburnum tree with the chandeliers looking bright of shinning. She says as the large decorated lights under the sky shine with hundreds of holding bulbs, similarly, the branches of the laburnum tree shine in the spring as well.

From line 13-18, Maki says the blue sky with a favorable weather makes the laburnum tree fully blossom and swing. Similarly, the gentle wind when winds, it flourishes all the flowers of laburnum tree and they seem to ever enchanting to the people looking towards this tree. In this way, this weather with its bright environment creates every flower, leave and branch of this tree which makes our spring a season to enjoy and fun. Maki shows the dependency of humans on trees. She says that when they fully blossom,  they make the spring an enjoyable season for human beings as they have also been in their homes winters and have seen the roughness of autumn; this Laburnum tree in spring brings happiness to the eyes and  freshen the eyes.

The line 21-23, poet celebrates the glory of the laburnum tree. She says in the spring; when the laburnum tree is in its full swing, people come to enjoy it so they appreciate the hard struggles of this tree as she has survived the harshness of winter. Maki is appreciating the glory of this laburnum tree because it fought with the wild and brutal winds of winter which tried to put it down and perish it way. The poetess reminiscence the days when the birds avoided this tree because of its ugly look but now when it is spring and this tree is enjoyable so all the beauty seems to be lying at the feet of this tree as she tree stands the far most beauty of the landscape.

In lines 23-26, the poetess gives courage and strength to this laburnum tree as the spring is fading out. She says that the dark days will again come but you need not lose the faith; she adds that winter will again come as cruel as it could be, but you must not leave to survive. She warns the laburnum tree that the flowers will again fall, the branches will again look ugly but keep the sap alive as it will fight for the whole season and give blossom to the flowers again.

Laburnum Tree Themes:

Hard work:

The major theme of this poem is the hard work. The poetess gives a very vivid message for the continuance of hard work. She says that the hard work can always come out as successful; she urges the readers not to put down your hands when the circumstances are not favorable rather the struggles are to be continued because a day will come when the failures will be a story of past and the people will celebrate your glory and achievements.

Hope:

The second theme of this poem is hope. The poetess gives the idea of keeping hope alive and struggle for the better days can bring the better days in reality. She says that after every dark night there is a bright day but the need is not to lose the hope. Until the hope is alive, nothing can defeat you as the laburnum tree survives the harshness of the cruel winter. In the words of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi;

Zindagi Shama Ki Manind Jalata Hon Nadeem

Bujh To Jaonga Magar SUbh To Kar Jaonga.

 

Laburnum Tree Analysis:

  • The poem is written in blank verse.
  • In the fourth line, poetess has personified the winter by attributing it a human quality. Plucking something is the quality of humans but in this line this winter has been given this quality.
  • In the eleventh line, Maki has used simile by comparing the branches of laburnum tree to a chandeliers with its holding bulb. The point of comparison between both these is the sparkling and shinning.
  • In the 19th line, the poetess has again used personification by personifying the landscape attributing it the quality of stopping.
  • Similarly line 21 also contains personification when Maki personifies laburnum tree by giving it the human quality of wait.
  • The poem has many meanings which can be searched in between the lines. One of the major meanings which can be ascertained from a close reading is that of identity problem of Pakistani writers in English.
  • She compares the Pakistani English writers with laburnum tree and the struggle associated to it as well.
  • Maki Qureshi says that the Pakistani writers have faced so many problems of identity as they were not recognized anywhere in the start.
  • They were looked down upon and a very hostile environment was given to them, but the fought in the circumstances and came as victorious.
  • She then says that it is not the end which is achieved, she urges for more achievement. She also warns all the writers that hard times will come again but you need to stand firm to face them.