How are the trees used to convey the poet’s thoughts or attitudes in:
‘The Trees Are Down’ by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew was an English poet who wrote frequently about the nature in London. The poem deals with the felling of plane trees in Euston Square Gardens, London in the early 1920s. There is a clear sense of desolation and loss in this poem, a lament for the felling of the great plane trees. The poem has elements of Modernism, the disordered rhythm, rhyme and syntax mirroring Mew’s belief that she had the genes to pass on a mental illness. The poem also has elements of late Romanticism, connecting the trees and nature to man and the divine. The trees are used to convey the poet’s appreciation and understanding of nature as well as how much of her childhood and memories are with them, and their destruction is cutting her off from her past. In the opening stanza Mew describes the work of the men. In the second stanza Mew portrays her important reflection which leads her to her appreciation of nature. In the final two stanzas Mew expresses her own pain and loss which has come with the cutting down of the trees.
The first stanza portrays the destruction of the trees by the men, Mew presenting her sorrow over the damage to nature against the ignorant men cutting down the trees. The poet uses the plural pronoun to disassociate herself and create distance between herself and the people cutting down the trees. This suggests Mew’s appreciation for the trees and nature. The compound noun “plane-trees” is a direct reference to the trees in Euston Square Garden. They were trees that stood near where she grew up in Bloomsbury. The specificity of the trees makes it personal to the speaker, perhaps suggesting a connection between Mew and nature, a late romantic technique. The noun “garden” usually means near a house, reinforcing the closeness physically and metaphorically that the poet shared with the trees. Mew uses her connection to these trees...
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