“Don’t Cut Down the Trees, Brother Woodcutter”
Unit: One ( Environment)
Written By: Balakrishna Sama ( 8 February 1903 – 20 June 1981)( Balakrishna Sama was a Nepalese dramatist and is also regarded as the “Shakespeare” of Nepal. He is known as “Natya Siromani”)
Translated By: Michael Hutt
The poem “Don’t Cut Down the Trees, Brother Woodcutter” is composed by Nepali poet Balakrishna Sama( 8 February 1903 – 20 June 1981). Balkrishna Sama was a Nepalese dramatist and is also regarded as the “Shakespeare” of Nepal. The main message of this poem is about the conservation of nature. The speaker of the poem is trying to persuade the woodcutter not to cut down the trees. Therefore, he calls the woodcutter ‘brother’ and tries to establish emotional attachment with the trees using the phrase ‘dead mothers’. He requests the woodcutter not to cut down the trees because they provide us with motherly love and care.
They protect us from the sun and the rain, seat us on their laps, carry us in their arms and shoulders, give us fruits and flowers, and kiss our foreheads with leafy lips. They also weep for us, but they cannot speak and plead with us. In winter, we sit around the fire and enjoy the warmth inside our homes. We sleep soundly in our warm beds all night, but the trees keep standing outside frostbitten to look after us like mothers of newly born babies.
They only cannot express their inner feelings for us. But as soon as spring comes the trees attract us by their beauty. Especially, the poet argues that trees are very important in our lives and they need to be protected. The poet considers the trees as our dead mother who is silent observers, but they protect us from natural calamities. It gives us fruits and flowers as if our mother cares about us. Thus, no child is hungry. Their leafy lips kiss us and when they feel tired, they sigh and weep. They never speak a word and complain. They are able to tolerate and their pains and grieves are only for our sake.
This is a very beautiful pro-environment poem. In this poem, the poet might be trying to tell us to be more concerned with the pressing problems of deforestation and environmental degradation. He might be saying to us we should save the trees because they are very much useful to us. They provide us with various everyday basic requirements. He repeats the idea of considering the earth and its plants as respectful and forgiving to us, the selfish humans who ceaselessly fell down trees for fulfilling their present needs. The poet is indirectly criticizing the human act of clearing the lands, thus, making the life of our children and grandchildren insecure. The trees need to be saved for our future in case the human species may become extinct.
I like this poem very much as it presents the idea of conservation of nature. But some of the ideas present in this poem are questionable.
- For instance, those who live in a hot place do they find frost on the top of the trees during winter?
- How could the poet understand the feeling of the tree?
- Is it possible for us to sit around the fire for warmth in winter without cutting down them?
- How can ‘dead mothers’ show all kinds of emotion for us?
- How can the trees have dreams like a person?
After reading this poem, I understood that we should treat the trees and plants as living beings. I will try to convince people not to cut down trees seeing the commercial benefit. I will suggest people do an afforestation. Thus, I appeal to citizens and the government to conserve the forest whatever is left for our future generation. Now I have understood that conserving trees is, after all, helping save my own existence.
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