1. The Laburnum Top A Poem by: Ted Hughes
A PowerPoint presentation by: Mrinal Ghosh, PGT (English)
CBSE Class XI English
2. The Laburnum Top
Edward James Hughes was an English poet and children's
writer. Critics frequently rank him as one of the best poets
of his generation, and one of the twentieth century's
greatest writers. He served as
Poet Laureate from 1984 until
4. The Laburnum Top
• The first three lines of the poem impress upon the reader
the stillness of the laburnum tree. A small Goldfinch comes
and the tree bursts with movement and sound.
• The bird’s family lodges in the thickness of the tree. The
goldfinch enters the tree’s thickness to feed her young ones
and flies away.
5. The Laburnum Top
• The tree becomes silent once again when the bird flies
• The poet has used imagery
of sound and movement to
show the tree coming alive.
6. The Laburnum Top
Now, let’s read the poem:
The Laburnum Top is silent, quite still
in the afternoon yellow September sunlight,
A few leaves yellowing, all its seeds fallen.
7. The Laburnum Top
Till the goldfinch comes, with a twitching chirrup
A suddeness, 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 of tremor of wings, and trillings -
8. The Laburnum Top
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….
9. The Laburnum Top
Some Questions for :
1. ‘She launches away, towards the infinite’. Explain the given line.
2. Why is the image of the engine evoked by the poet?
3. Describe the Laburnum tree.
4. What happened when the goldfinch came to the laburnum tree?
5. How is the tree transformed during the bird’s visit? Write the line
that shows this transformation.
6. Explain the line ‘And the laburnum subsides to empty’.