'Birch Tree' by A.S.J. Tessimond

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The Walls of Glass1934The birch tree in winter
Leaning over the secret pool
Is Narcissus in love
With the slight white branches,
The slim trunk,
In the dark glass;
Spring coming on,
Is afraid,
And scarfs the white limbs
In green.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Birch Tree by A.S.J. Tessimond: A Close Reading


Have you ever looked at the beauty of nature and been completely mesmerized? Have you ever wondered about the meaning of life? Well, A.S.J. Tessimond's "Birch Tree" explores both of these themes in a way that is both beautiful and thought-provoking.

In this close reading, we will analyze Tessimond's use of language, structure, and symbolism to uncover the deeper meanings of "Birch Tree."


Tessimond's use of language in "Birch Tree" is both simple and complex. The simplicity comes through in his choice of words, which are easy to understand and visualize. For example, he describes the birch tree as "slender," "bare," and "white." These words paint a clear picture of the tree in the reader's mind.

However, Tessimond's language is also complex in the way he uses it to convey deeper meanings. For example, he describes the tree as "a ladder for a desperate foot." This line suggests that the tree is a means of escape for someone who is in a desperate situation. The ladder imagery also suggests that the tree provides a way to climb up and out of a difficult situation.

Tessimond also uses personification to give the tree a sense of life and vitality. He describes the tree as "a girl, slim, white," and "a dancer, supple, white." These descriptions give the tree a sense of movement and grace, as if it is alive and dancing in the wind.


The structure of "Birch Tree" is also significant in conveying deeper meanings. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with four lines. The first stanza describes the physical appearance of the tree, while the second stanza explores its symbolic meaning. The third stanza brings the two together, suggesting that the physical and symbolic are intertwined.

The use of repetition is also significant in the structure of the poem. Tessimond repeats the word "white" three times in the first stanza, emphasizing the whiteness of the tree and its purity. He also repeats the phrase "in the wind" twice in the second stanza, suggesting that the tree is constantly moving and changing.


The birch tree in Tessimond's poem is rich in symbolism. It represents both the beauty of nature and the fragility of life. The tree is described as "slender," suggesting its delicate and vulnerable nature. However, it is also described as "dancer," suggesting its graceful and enduring quality.

The birch tree also represents a sense of hope and renewal. Tessimond describes the tree as "a ladder for a desperate foot," suggesting that it is a means of escape for those in difficult situations. The ladder imagery also suggests that the tree provides a way to climb up and out of a dark place.

Finally, the birch tree represents the cycle of life and death. Tessimond describes the tree as "bare," suggesting that it is in a state of dormancy or death. However, he also describes it as "white," suggesting that it is pure and full of life. This duality represents the cycle of life and death, and the idea that death is not the end, but rather a new beginning.


In conclusion, A.S.J. Tessimond's "Birch Tree" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores the deeper meanings of nature, life, and death. Tessimond's use of language, structure, and symbolism work together to create a powerful message about the fragility and enduring nature of life. This poem is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope and renewal.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Birch Tree: A Poem of Nature's Beauty and Transience

As humans, we are often so consumed by our daily lives that we forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us. However, in his poem "Birch Tree," A.S.J. Tessimond reminds us of the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and the fleeting nature of life itself.

The poem begins with a vivid description of a birch tree, standing tall and proud in the midst of a forest. Tessimond's use of imagery is particularly striking here, as he describes the tree's "white bark" and "black branches" that "stretch upwards." The contrast between the tree's light and dark colors creates a sense of depth and texture, making the tree seem almost tangible.

As the poem progresses, Tessimond shifts his focus from the physical appearance of the tree to its symbolic significance. He describes the tree as a "symbol of love and life," suggesting that it represents the beauty and vitality of the natural world. However, he also acknowledges the transience of life, noting that the tree's "leaves will fall" and its "branches will break."

This theme of transience is central to the poem, as Tessimond uses the birch tree as a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life itself. He notes that "time will pass" and "the tree will die," reminding us that nothing in life is permanent. However, he also suggests that there is beauty in this transience, as the tree's "leaves will turn to gold" before they fall.

One of the most striking aspects of "Birch Tree" is Tessimond's use of language. His words are carefully chosen and arranged, creating a sense of rhythm and musicality that echoes the natural world he is describing. For example, he uses alliteration to emphasize the tree's strength and resilience, noting that it "stands strong and steadfast." He also uses repetition to create a sense of continuity and flow, as he describes the tree's "branches stretching upwards" and its "leaves turning to gold."

Another notable aspect of the poem is its structure. Tessimond uses a simple ABAB rhyme scheme, with each stanza consisting of four lines. This simplicity allows the poem's message to shine through, without any distracting or unnecessary elements. Additionally, the short stanzas and simple rhyme scheme create a sense of ease and comfort, as if the poem itself is a gentle breeze blowing through the forest.

Overall, "Birch Tree" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that reminds us of the beauty and transience of the natural world. Tessimond's use of vivid imagery, symbolism, and language creates a sense of awe and wonder, while his simple structure and rhyme scheme make the poem accessible and easy to understand. As we go about our busy lives, it is important to remember the beauty and fragility of the world around us, and "Birch Tree" is a powerful reminder of this fact.

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