Skip to main content

Don't Cut Down The Trees, Brother Woodcutter

Balakrishna Sama (1902-1981) (Translated by Michael Hutt)

I.                   Literal Comprehension
Context: This poem has been written by Balakrishna Sama (1902-1981). He was a dramatist par excellence, a performing artist, painter, sculptor, poet, essayist, novelist and short story writer. In this poem, he has advocated of nature conservation.
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 the 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.
II.                Interpretation
This poem might be trying to tell us that we should save the trees because they are very much useful to us. They provide us with various everyday basic requirements. Therefore, the trees are like our dead mothers. It means they support and take care of us but cannot express their inner feelings for us. In this way, the poet has given the rank of ‘mother’ to nature and has emphasized the need for conserving it.
III.             Critical Thinking
I support the poet’s idea for nature conservation. The trees should not be cut down. But is it possible for us to sit around the fire for warmth in winter without cutting down them? In fact, the poet has forgotten to check the reality in an effort to create a world of his imagination. He has imagined the trees as our ‘dead mothers’. But his imagination of the trees as dozing off like a newly born baby’s mother is too much of its kind. How can ‘dead mothers’ show all kinds of emotion for us? How can the trees have dreams like a person? 
IV.              Assimilation
This poem has taught me to treat the trees and plants as living beings. Therefore, I will not cut down the trees in future. I will also encourage others to conserve the trees. Now I have understood that conserving trees is after all helping save my own existence.


The poem “Don’t Cut Down the Trees, Brother Woodcutter” has been written by the famous Nepali poet Balkrishna Sama and translated into English by Michael Hutt. The poet has attributed the quality of mother to the tree, which is the source of life for humans. The poet requests woodcutter not to cut down trees because they are the source of life and he even calls trees as a ‘dead mother’ because they can’t plea to us about their pain and suffering. But they always protect us from the sun and the rain. And we take a seat upon the trees as we use it for various purposes in our life. They help us to run our life smoothly. They carry us on their arms as a mother carries her children. We get different kinds of fruits and flowers from trees. They show their love and affection by kissing on our forehead as mother kisses her child with intense love and affection. Trees sing songs for us to entertain us and they provide water for us, which is the source of our life. They sing and entertain us but they can’t speak with us and complain about their problems.

The poet further talks about winter season, when people gather in the house and enjoy the fires. People talk and sing; they go to bed and lie down comfortably. They are able to enjoy the fire and are able to have sound sleep because of trees. Outside it is very cold but inside it is very warm because of trees. Outside the house trees are covered with a veil of white frost. They are dozing silently. They pass cold nights with dreaming of sunshine childhoods. They always bless for the welfare and happy moment for the people. They always love us and wish for the warm life. But they can’t express their inner pains and thoughts in the cold winter. They wait until winter ends and as soon spring comes they spread their arms with new life and new beginnings. With new beginning they tell us not to cut off their branches. Finally, writer requests woodcutter not to cut down the trees because they are the sources of our life.

The writer expresses about the lack of human consciousness and selfish nature. Trees protect us from various problems like, winter, sunshine and rain, so we should think rationally and we should protect our mother. Like mother, trees also care us and make our life easier and comfortable and we should also care our mother. Though trees can’t speak and express their pains and sufferings, we should not exploit and destroy them. We should also react like a responsible child and show the same kind of love and care towards her. Trees are able to tolerate various pains and suffering but humans are only concerned to lead a happy life and they are not ready to bear any kind of pain and suffering. 

The poet in the poem ‘Don’t cut down the trees, brother woodcutter’ has presented important issue which is concerned about human rationality. Sama argues how trees are important in our lives and they need to be protected. The poet is in favor of nature conservation. In this pro-environment poem, Sama seems more concerned with the pressing problem of deforestation and environmental degradation. The poet is indirectly criticizing the human act of clearing lands, thus making the life of our children and grandchildren insecure. The poem satirizes the nature of people who try to exploit the nature but do not know to protect it. Trees are savior and protector of human life but humans are not able to protect them, they only look for short term benefit. Trees are dozing in the harsh winter but people are enjoying the fire inside the house, but they fail to realize that it is possible to have a sound sleep in the bed because of trees only. But they are not responsible towards their Savior; trees. The tree has been presented as a mother, like mother it tolerates pains and suffering and doesn't complain about it to its children. It is our responsibility to take care of our mother and savior. The poet is also concerned about the environmental issue and the responsibility of humans towards nature. Nature is the life of humans and we should know to utilize it properly. The poet has criticized about the selfish nature of humans and personifies the trees to be our mothers, containing human characters. The breasts of mother filled up with milk are actually produced by the fruits and flowers that comes from the tree. And, the child obtains vitamins, fibers, proteins and minerals suckling the breasts of his mother. But, we do not understand all the sacrifice and tolerance that the trees endure to sustain our lives.


Popular posts from this blog

BBS First Year English Question Paper with Possible Answers (TU 2021)

PROFESSIONS FOR WOMEN - Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Summary : Virginia Adeline Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist and essayist, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. She was one of the leaders in the literary movement of modernism.  The speech of  Professions for Women  was given in 1931 to the Women’s Service League by Virginia Woolf. It was also included in  Death of a Moth  and  Other Essays  in 1942. Throughout the speech, Virginia Woolf brings forward a problem that is still relevant today:  gender inequality .   Woolf’s main point in this essay was to bring awareness to the phantoms (illusions) and obstacles women face in their jobs. Woolf argues that women must overcome special obstacles to become successful in their careers. She describes two hazards she thinks all women who aspire to professional life must overcome: their tendency to sacrifice their own interests to those of others and their reluctance (hesitancy) to challenge conservative male attitudes .  She starts her

The Etiquette of Freedom - Gary Snyder

  In his essay " The Etiquette of Freedom ," Gary Snyder explores the concept of freedom in relation to nature and culture. He argues that freedom is not simply the absence of constraints (restrictions), but rather the ability to live in harmony with the natural world. This requires a deep understanding of the environment and a willingness to respect its limits. Snyder begins by defining the terms " wild " and " culture ." He argues that " wild " does not mean " untamed " or " uncivilised ," but rather " self-organizing ." A wild system is one that is able to maintain its own equilibrium (balance) without the intervention of humans. Culture, on the other hand, is a human-made system that is designed to meet our needs. Snyder then goes on to discuss the relationship between freedom and culture. He argues that our culture has become increasingly alienated from nature and that this has led to a loss of freedom. We have