The Trees


Stanza One

The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief.

The stanza immediately focuses on the focal symbol of the poem, 'the trees'. Larkin paints a simple, perfect picture of springtime when the 'trees are coming into leaf'. Spring evokes feelings of eagerness, watching the bare twigs of winter sprout new 'buds', like 'somthing almost being said'. The next line suggests that the tree is relaxed and carefree, ready to embrace its new life. The final line of the stanza is a strange paradox. Usually green is a sign of light and new life; here, Larkin compares it to 'grief'. This creates a sort of suspense and the reader wants to know why the mood has changed from light to dark.

Stanza Two

Is it that they are born again

And we grow old? No, they die too.

Their yearly trick of looking new

Is written down in rings of grain.

Here, Larkin explores the themes of youth and age.


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