The Heart of the Tree Questions and Answers ICSE Class 9

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

Extract – I

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants a friend of sun and sky,
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh;

Question 1 : Who is asking the question and from whom? Does the beginning of the poem create an impact on its readers?

Answer : The poet Henry C Bunner is passing a question to the readers. Putting a question in the beginning is very impressive. It is done to create curiosity and anxiety in the readers to know more about the poem. Yes, this beginning, definitely leaves its mark on its readers.

Question 2 : According to the poet what are the two uses of planting a tree?

Answer : According to the poet, if a man plants a tree, he plants a friend of sun and sky as tree grows in sun and attains height. He plants a flag (tree) through which breeze blows and provides us soothing cool air.

Question 3 : In what ways are the trees friends of sun and sky?

Answer : The poet has depicted trees as friends of sun and sky because the poet feels that trees attain height due to the sun. The process of photosynthesis is carried out in the presence of sun that helps trees to grow. Trees also help in taking impurified air and releasing pure air with oxygen in the sky. So, a tree is a friend of sky also.

Question 4 : What is the phrase ‘The shaft of beauty towering high’ used for?

Answer : With this phrase the poet describes a tree as a shaft or pole that is decorated with leaves and branches. It grows higher and higher like a tower that touches the sky. In this way the tree goes closer to his friend the sky.

Question 5 : Point out the refrain in the poem. What effect does the refrain have on the reader?

Answer : the poem starts with a refrain ‘What does he plant who plants a tree?’ that comes in the beginning of each stanza. The refrain highlights the actual benefits of planting a tree as by planting a single tree, many objectives can be achieved. In every stanza, the readers are reminded by this question, ‘What else is being planted with a tree’ so that their attention can be drawn toward the other benefits of trees.

Extract – II

For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard-
The treble of heaven’s harmony-
These things he plants who plants a tree.

Question 1 : What is referred to as mother-croon of bird? Why is the song sung in the hushed voice?

Answer : The mother-croon of the bird referred to here is the soft song that mother bird sings for her little ones. It is sung in a hushed voice because it is sung during twilight when human activities are restricted and an atmosphere of calmness prevails.

Question 2 : What is a twilight? Why is it a happy twilight?

Answer : Twilight is the faint light at the end of the day after the sun has gone down. It is a happy twilight becauseĀ  birds croons are happy listening to her mother’s song sung in soft tunes.

Question 3 : What is meant by ‘treble’ and ‘heaven’s harmony’? What role does the treble play in heaven’s harmony?

Answer : A high tone in music is called treble. Harmony is the way in which different musical notes are played or sung together and combine to make a pleasant sound. The soft voiced song of mother croon sinks into the pleasant harmony of the universe.

Question 4 : Mention some of the functions of a tree.

Answer : A tree functions as a friend of sky and sun. It purifies the air and absorbs carbon-dioxide. Trees provide a home to many birds and their youngsters. Through trees a harmonious atmosphere is created as various birds’ songs are heard in the air.

Question 5 : Would you say ‘The Heart of the Tree’ is an apt title for the poem?

Answer : ‘The Heart of the Tree’ is an appropriate title. The heart is one of the most important organs of our body that pumps blood and provides oxygen to all the parts of body. In the same way, a tree has many qualities which are essential for human survival. Trees provide us pure oxygen, they cause rainfall, trees like human heart provide leaves, sap and wood. So, we can say that the title of the poem is appropriate as this poem is about trees and their importance to our survival.

Extract – III

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants a cool shade and tender rain,
And seed and bud of days to be,
And years that fade and flush again;
He plants the glory of the plain;
He plants the forest’s heritage;
The harvest of a coming age;
The joy of unborn eyes shall see-
These things he plants who plants a tree.

Question 1 : Mention some ways through which human beings are benefitted by planting a tree.

Answer : Trees provide us cool shade in summer. Trees are also responsible for cloud formation due to evaporation (stem). So, trees bless us with tender rains also. Trees provide home to many birds as in rains, birds prefer to make nests on them.

Question 2 : How do trees provide for the harvest of the following years?

Answer : Trees provide us with wood, fruits and medicines. The one who plants a tree plants the entire forest for the benefit of human beings. As today’s tree may transform into a forest, planting a tree today will give us fruits in coming days. Our next generation will be delighted seeing so much vegetation and reap its benefits.

Question 3 : How do trees account for the forest wealth of a nation?

Answer : The poet says that if we plant a single tree today, it may turn into a forest someday. Trees account for the forest wealth of a nation by ensuring plenty of harvest in the days to come. The poet says that trees, beside keeping our environment healthy and clean can also yield a number of products such as fruits, flowers and other things that are good for health and are also beneficial from economic point of views.

Question 4 : What does the expression ‘Unborn eyes’ indicate? What will they see? Why will they rejoice?

Answer : The expression ‘Unborn eyes’ refers to the future generation. They will see a land full of beautiful trees laden with fruits and flowers adding beauty to the land. Numerous benefits of trees like cool shade, rains, fruits and timbre etc will be enjoyed by the future generation. The future generation will be benefitted with medicinal plants and woods.

Question 5 : How do the last two lines of the extract explain the process of regenerations? How does the man plant the forest’s heritage?

Answer : After many years of the old trees will wither (fade) away and the seeds of the trees will grow into new trees and into dense forest. This is symbolic of the process of birth, death, and regeneration. In this way, trees will make the plains beautiful. The forest will provide crops to the future generations. Thus, the upcoming generations will real all the benefits of the trees that are being planted now.

Extract – IV

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,
In love of home and loyalty
And far-cast thought of civic good-
His blessings on the neighborhood,
Who in the hollow of His hand-
Holds all the growth of all our land-
A nation’s growth from sea to sea
Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.

Question 1 : Comment ‘A person who plants a tree, serves his nation’.

Answer : In the above line, poet’s sensibility sounds very idealistic as a person who plants a tree also serves his nation. His contribution may not be direct but the benefits acquired by the future generation due to the presence of trees, are enormous, so the person responsible for planting trees is benefitting the whole nation.

Question 2 : What does the express ‘far-cast thought of civic good’ mean? In what way planting trees is a blessing?

Answer : The above expression means farsightedness and its citizens. Planting trees is a blessing in many ways as it provides fresh air, food, timber, cool shade and rain. It is a blessing for the present as well as future generation.

Question 3 : How can a person who plant trees can serve humanity at large?

Answer : In poet’s point of view, a person who plants a tree loves the human kind. Planting a tree can be advantageous for all. It also suggests that an individual’s signal of planting trees indicates his caring for the society and his surroundings. He helps in making a society prosperous and spreading harmony all around.

Question 4 : How can this poem help in making an individual a good citizen?

Answer : A person who plants trees brings happiness, blessings and prosperity. Our land will become barren without trees, man gets food from leaves and sap of the tree. Looking at all the benefits of a tree, a person who plants tree is really involved in a noble cause. His practice of planting trees reflects the humanistic idea of common good.

Question 5 : Which figure of speech is used in last four lines of the poem?

Answer : In last four lines of the poem, the poet has used a figure of speech – Alliteration. Alliteration signifies the occurrence of several words in continuity the same first consonant sound or similar sounding letter. In last 2 lines we see the phrases ‘Sea to Sea’ and ‘Stir’ with the same consonant sound ‘S’ in the beginning.