Toru Dutt

(4 March 1856 - 30 August 1877 / Calcutta / British India)

Our Casuarina Tree - Poem by Toru Dutt

LIKE a huge Python, winding round and round
The rugged trunk, indented deep with scars,
Up to its very summit near the stars,
A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound
No other tree could live. But gallantly
The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are hung
In crimson clusters all the boughs among,
Whereon all day are gathered bird and bee;
And oft at nights the garden overflows
With one sweet song that seems to have no close,
Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.

When first my casement is wide open thrown
At dawn, my eyes delighted on it rest;
Sometimes, and most in winter,—on its crest
A gray baboon sits statue-like alone
Watching the sunrise; while on lower boughs
His puny offspring leap about and play;
And far and near kokilas hail the day;
And to their pastures wend our sleepy cows;
And in the shadow, on the broad tank cast
By that hoar tree, so beautiful and vast,
The water-lilies spring, like snow enmassed.

But not because of its magnificence
Dear is the Casuarina to my soul:
Beneath it we have played; though years may roll,
O sweet companions, loved with love intense,
For your sakes, shall the tree be ever dear.
Blent with your images, it shall arise
In memory, till the hot tears blind mine eyes!
What is that dirge-like murmur that I hear
Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach?
It is the tree’s lament, an eerie speech,
That haply to the unknown land may reach.

Unknown, yet well-known to the eye of faith!
Ah, I have heard that wail far, far away
In distant lands, by many a sheltered bay,
When slumbered in his cave the water-wraith
And the waves gently kissed the classic shore
Of France or Italy, beneath the moon,
When earth lay trancèd in a dreamless swoon:
And every time the music rose,—before
Mine inner vision rose a form sublime,
Thy form, O Tree, as in my happy prime
I saw thee, in my own loved native clime.

Therefore I fain would consecrate a lay
Unto thy honor, Tree, beloved of those
Who now in blessed sleep for aye repose,—
Dearer than life to me, alas, were they!
Mayst thou be numbered when my days are done
With deathless trees—like those in Borrowdale,
Under whose awful branches lingered pale
“Fear, trembling Hope, and Death, the skeleton,
And Time the shadow;” and though weak the verse
That would thy beauty fain, oh, fain rehearse,
May Love defend thee from Oblivion’s curse.


Comments about Our Casuarina Tree by Toru Dutt

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/20/2016 9:20:00 PM)

    Great metaphor, nice imagery and a beautiful poem...Thy form, O Tree, as in my happy prime
    I saw thee, in my own loved native clime. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Manonton Dalan (1/20/2016 4:12:00 PM)

    some call this tree rhu but my
    tribe calls it a-rhu-o and then
    for some reason they change
    to A-go-o..these are tallest
    tree in my tribe...whistling
    with wind...they grow so fast. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (1/20/2016 2:19:00 PM)

    Oh my word, this is like a waterfall of beautiful sparkling words - it reads so smooth and I know a tree too that holds memories in its branches like colorful birds. Excellent write! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Sk Nurul Huda Sk Nurul Huda (1/20/2016 9:21:00 AM)

    this poem is like a big tree stretching all branches.... (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda Anil Kumar Panda (1/20/2016 9:00:00 AM)

    Very nice poem on nature. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (1/20/2016 8:26:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem. I love all the descriptions of the living creatures. Makes me want to visit India. Excellent choice for today's Poem of the Day. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (1/20/2016 5:44:00 AM)

    ....truly astonishing and most extraordinary..
    .a lovely poem with exquisite imagery ★ (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (1/20/2016 5:16:00 AM)

    Magnificence of nature on and around Casuarina tree and sweet memoirs of time spent it's underneath with dearest friends has been fantastically captured in this beautiful and lovely verse. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/20/2016 3:00:00 AM)

    The beauty of nature! Praising and respecting all things. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 2, 2010



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