The Laburnum Top Summary

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Summary of the poem The Laburnum Top

The poem Laburnum Top by Ted Hudges revolves around a Laburnum Tree and a Goldfinch bird. The theme of the poem is the symbiotic relationship between the two. It describes the Laburnum Tree during the early autumn. The tree was yellow, silent and dead-like. It was made alive again by the goldfinch bird and her young ones chirping on its branches. The poet describes that the Laburnum tree looked extremely pretty in the yellow September light. The mother Goldfinch keeps flying to find food for her young ones. As soon as she flies back in the sky, there is an elusive silence on the Laburnum tree. Summary of The Laburnum Top Class 11 prepared by Vedantu is a concise and explained form of the poem which will help students to understand the poem better.


The Laburnum Top Explanation

The poem starts by describing the Laburnum tree. The top of the Laburnum tree is still and silent. The leaves of the tree have turned yellow and the seeds have fallen on the ground. The tree was standing still and there was death-like silence in September.

The life-less tree again gets back to life on the arrival of the Goldfinch bird. She comes to feed her young ones on the tree. The tree is their shelter. As soon as the mother returns, the tree seems to get back to life. She moves to the other side of the branch in a lizard-like movement. After feeding her young ones, she flies back to the sky, the death-like silence and stillness return to the tree. 


The Laburnum Top Line By Line Explanation

In The Laburnum Top poem summary, the poet says that he saw a Laburnum tree in the daytime of September. The treetop was silent and still. It was the autumn season and all the seeds of the tree had fallen. The poet has used the word ‘yellow’ to refer to the leaves and sunlight. Yellow colour symbolizes silence, death and beauty. He describes the tree with reference to the yellow colour.

In summary of The Laburnum Top, a Goldfinch bird comes to end the death-like silence of the tree and returns life to it. There is a sudden chirrup of sound. The bird was rapid, alert and precautious like a lizard. She sits on the branches of the tree. She moves towards the thick end of the branch like a lizard. As she did so, her young ones started chirping and vibrating their wings. They were excited and joyous. This resulted in the tree to shake and tremble.

In Laburnum Top explanation, the poet gives two contradicting scenarios of the tree. First one is that the tree is mostly in a death-like stillness and silence and the second one is that the tree offers shelter and protection to the young Goldfinches. The tree serves as an engine to the family of the Goldfinch. Only the dark coloured striped face of the mother Goldfinch is visible as her yellow body camouflages behind the yellow leaves of the Laburnum tree.

The bird starts sliding to the end of the branch after offering food to her young ones. After this, it sweetly chirps and flies away in the blue, infinite sky. This makes the Laburnum tree silent and death-like again.

The Laburnum Top Summary highlights the fact that both the bird and the tree are important for each other’s survival. It is a kind of mutualism which exists between the two. The Laburnum Top explanation shows that the laburnum tree is vital to the Goldfinch bird as it provides shelter to its young ones. The bird and its young ones are important to the tree since they provide the tree with life. The melancholic silence eludes with the arrival of the bird.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. In the summary of The Laburnum Top Class 11, what is the bird’s movement compared to? What is the basis for the comparison?

Ans. As explained beautifully in The Laburnum Top summary Class 11, the goldfinch’s movement in the poem has been compared to the movement of a lizard because she was abrupt, sleek and alert. These kinds of movements are observed in a lizard. When the bird arrived at the tree and moved to the thick side of the branch to feed her young ones, her behaviour resembled that of a lizard. 

2. What is common between the starting and ending of The Laburnum Top Class 11 summary with respect to the Laburnum tree?

Ans. At the beginning and the ending of the poem, the Laburnum tree stood still and silent. There was no life to it. It was all silent until the Goldfinch returned to the tree. This common state has been rightly explained in The Laburnum Top summary Class 11. 

3. Why is the image of the engine evoked by the poet in The Laburnum Top summary?

Ans. The engine serves as a source of power that runs a machine. The bird Goldfinch is compared to the engine in the poem as she is the feeder of her family. Just like a machine cannot work without an engine, the young finches can’t survive without her. This comparison has been very aptly explained in The Laburnum Top poem summary.