Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

Stanzawise Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree by Toru Dutt

Summary of the Poem: Our Casuarina Tree

Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree : Toru Dutt’s ‘Our Casuarina Tree’ is a very popular and memorable poem. Our Casuarina Tree is associated with Toru Dutt’s famous anthology ‘Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan Part II’. Our Casuarina Tree first time appears in ‘Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan Part II ‘ with six other poems. Casuarina is a kind of tree and it is a very important tree among the Christians.

The Christians regard casuarina tree as a holy and divine tree. The casuarina tree is regarded as the Christmas tree among the Christians. The casuarina tree has its own importance at the birthday of Jesus Christ. On the birthday of Christ, the casuarina trees are adorned with the lights and toys. Adorning the Christmas tree is an easy and popular way to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ among the Christians.

They associate the casuarina tree with Santa Claus who visits the houses at the night of the Christ’s birthday and brings gifts, and toys for the children. He secretly distributes the toys and gifts among the children. Generally it is believed that Santa Claus visits the houses where the casuarina tree is decorated.

Stanzawise Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree by Toru Dutt

Santa Claus likes the casuarina tree and the decorated casuarina tree is a way to attract him for the visit of a house. Casuarina has its origin in Australia and India. It has joined branches. It grows very high. If looked from a bit distance it looks like a huge python. Toru Dutt remembers a casuarina tree under which she has passed a very sweet time with her brother Abju and sister Aru. She has played under that casuarina tree with her sister and brother. Those sweet moments are still fresh in her mind. Unfortunately, the poetess has lost her sister Aru as well as her brother Abju. Both of them have died.

Now the poetess has nobody with whom she could share her sweet moments that she had enjoyed under the casuarina tree. But she is still deeply associated with that tree. She thinks the casuarina tree makes her recall the sweet company of her brother and the sister. The poetess thinks that the casuarina tree itself is very sad owing to untimely death of Aru and Abju. She feels that the tree is mourning over their death and wants to share the poetess’ grief. In short the casuarina tree has its own importance in the life of the poetess. Our Casuarina Tree is a great poem of Toru Dutt.

It is loaded with strong emotions, sensuous and vivid description and perfect composition and well-designed rhyme scheme. The poem consists of five stanzas. In short it is a great poem in which she (the poetess) expresses her emotions and recalls her days with her sister and brother under the casuarina tree.

Stanza 1: Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

Like a huge python, winding round and round
The rugged trunk, indented deep with scars
Upto 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 off at nights the garden overflows
With one sweet song that seems to have no close,
Sunk darkling from our tree, while men repose. 

Explanatory Word – Meanings:

Huge = vast, large in size and structure. Python= a large snake. Winding = curving, spiraling. Rugged = coarse, rough. Trunk = stem of the tree, the base of a tree. Deep = profound. Scars = marks or signs of wound, injury.  Summit = peak, top. Near the stars = very high. Gallantly= boldly, courageously. Giant = colossus, huge body. Scarf = muffler. Crimson = scarlet. Clusters= in a large amount, bunches. No close = without an end, perpetual. Gathered = garnered. Darkling = in darkness. Repose = take rest.


Toru Dutt gives a sensuous and vivid description of the casuarina tree. The poetess compares the casuarina tree with a huge python. The casuarina tree looking like a big python is encircled round the thick stem of the tree. It is intended deep with marks of wounds. It is a very high and tall tree. It is so tall that it seems that it will touch the sky or the stars. The creeper is also encircled with the tree. But the creeper embraces the casuarina tree so lightly as if it were trying to stop the breathing of the tree.

The creeper is so tightly attached to the tree that no other tree could ever have lived. But casuarina does not feel any problem with the creeper. The holy tree is enjoying the creeper round itself like a large muffler. The bunches of dark red colour flower blooming on the branches of the tree are also very attractive and tempting.

The tree full of the scarlet colour flower has become a centre of attraction. The thick branches of the tree provide shelter to the birds and bees as well. The birds and the bees are greatly attracted by the bunches of beautiful flowers on the branches of the tree. At night so often these birds sing so sweet that the darkness is filled with sweet music. The casuarina tree makes the birds sing and turns the environment sweet and melodious.

Stanza 2: Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

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. 

Explanatory Word – Meanings:

First = the poetess means the first work in the morning. Dawn = the early time of the day, day – break. Delighted = pleased, happy, joyous. Crest = top, peak, summit. A gray baboon= an old monkey. Statue = idol. Statue like = static, without any movement like an idol or statue. Alone= without anyone’s company. Boughs= large branches of a tree. Puny=little, tiny. Offspring= issues, children of someone. Leap =jump with joy. Kokilas= black colour birds famous for sweet singing.  Hail = welcome. Pastures= grassland, land for grazing purposes. Wend=move, go ahead.  Cows= cattle in normal sense. Shadow = the shade cast by an object. Broad = wide.  Broad tank = big pond. Hoar=old, outdated. Vast = huge, large. Spring = bloom. Enmassed = collected, gathered.


In these lines Toru Dutt indicates her emotional and deep attachment to the casuarina tree. She tells that in every morning she opens the window of her room to see the casuarina tree. It is her habit to see the casuarina tree from the window after getting up in the morning. Thus, the casuarina tree is the first object that comes before the poetess’s eyes in the beginning of the day. The poetess says that the casuarina tree is very attractive and tempting.

The beautiful tree attracts the poetess so much that she does not want to see any other thing. She does not want to move her eyes away from the casuarina tree. Sometimes in winter the poetess sees a monkey at the top of the tree and the other monkeys of its family are at the lower branches of the tree. It is very interesting to see monkeys jumping from one branch to the other of the casuarina tree. The poetess enjoys the jumping and playing of the monkeys at the branches of the casuarina tree. The casuarina tree also provides shelter to so many beautiful singing birds.

Many sweet singing birds use to live at this tree and make the entire environment sweet and melodious with their enchanting songs. The beautiful birds sing their sweet song in the morning to welcome the day. The poetess has enjoyed those sweet songs of birds. These songs make everything active. Hearing the songs of the birds at the casuarina tree, cows get up and start moving towards the pastures. Thus, the sweet songs of the birds in the early morning herald the beginning of the day. The broad pond near the tree looks white with blooming water lilies as if it were snowed.

Stanza 3: Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

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 see breaking on the shingle – beach?
Is the tree’s lament, an eerie speech,
That hoply to the unknown land may reach,
Unknown, yet well – known to the eye of faith! 

Explanatory Word – Meanings:

Magnificence = splendid, glorious, elegant. Companions= friends. Beneath = under the tree. Intense = extreme. Roll = pass by. Images = statues. Blind=unable to see. Dirge = funeral song, elegy. Murmur = to speak slowly, to whisper. Lament = mourn, to express sorrow. Hoply= to leap, jump in a joy. Faith = trust, believe.


Casuarina tree has a very important place in the poetess’ life. She is emotionally attached to the tree. She loves the casuarina tree not because of its beauty and hugeness, but because she finds this tree near to her heart. She has passed some golden and memorable moments of her life under this casuarina tree. That is why she loves the tree so much. The tree makes her remember those sweet moments that the poetess has passed with her brother Abju and sister Aru under it.

The poetess tells that she has played with Abju and Aru under this tree. Now that sweet time of her life has passed by and even her brother Abju and sister Aru have also died. But the casuarina tree reminds her of them and keeps the memory of her brother and sister fresh in her mind. The tree plays a key role in making the poetess smile. The poetess really likes the tree because it reminds her the sweet time that she has passed and keeps her in an emotional touch with her deceased brother and sister. Looking towards the tree the poetess remembers her past time that she has enjoyed under the tree.

She remembers that the birds are singing, monkeys are jumping from one branch to another and she (the poetess) is playing with her brother Abju and sister Aru. But those days have passed now and the memories of that time bring tears in the eyes of the poetess. She becomes sentimental remembering her dear sister and brother are dead now. She hears the monotonous and uninteresting voice of the sea – waves that are striking against the pebbles at the shore and creating a different kind of music. But the poetess is very sad and emotional remembering her dead sister and brother that she is not taking interest in the music of the waves.

She is very disappointed and depressed and wants to mourn the untimely death of her sister and brother. Sometimes, the poetess thinks that the tree too, is very sad on the death of Abju and Aru. She feels that the casuarina tree is mourning their death. But she thinks that it is worthless to weep over their death now. They have gone from this world never to return. She tells that Aru and Abju are now in the unknown land of the other world that exists only in faith.

Stanza 4: Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

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 tranced in dreamless swoon;
And every time the time rose, -before
Mine inner vision rose a form sublime;
Thy form, O tree, as in my happy prime
I saw thee, in my loved native clime. 

Explanatory Word – Meanings:

Wail = lament, mourn, express grief openly. Distant= far away in space or time. Sheltered = hidden, cut off, isolated. Bay= a West Indian tree, casuarina tree. Cave = cavern. Slumbered = asleep. Classic= ancient. Wraith= apparition. Gently= softly. Beneath= under, below. Tranced= without consciousness, in sound sleep. Swoon= faint, lose consciousness. Inner vision=imagination. Form = image. Sublime= great, noble, dignified, glorious. Prime= youth. Native clime= the native place, homeland, motherland, the poetess’ homeland i.e. Kolkata.


In this stanza Toru Dutt highlights her active life. She says that she has lived an active life from the physical as well as mental viewpoint. It is true that she is living far from her native place i.e., Kolkata, but she can easily hear the lament of casuarina tree. She observes the shrieks and cries of the casuarina tree even in her sound sleep. She clearly sees the picture of the casuarina tree in her dreams. The picture of the casuarina tree is so lively and vivid as if it were directly present before her eyes. She becomes happy to see her dear tree in her dreams.

The clear picture of the casuarina tree in her dreams gives a new strength to her view and faith that there is an unknown and hidden world, far from this mortal world, where the souls of the dead live and appear in the dreams of their respective dear ones. Thus, the appearance of the casuarina tree in the poetess’ dreams makes her believe that there is another hidden world where the souls of the dead inhabitate and keep contact with their relatives and other dear ones by appearing in their dreams. Thus, the casuarina tree and its appearance in the poetess’ dreams makes the poetess believe unbelievable .

Stanza 5: Summary of Poem Our Casuarina Tree

Therefore I fain would consecrate a lay. 

Unto the honour, Tree beloved of those 

Who now in blessed sleep for aye repose, 

Dearer than life to me, alas! Where they! 

Mayst thou be numbered when my days and done 

With deathless trees – like those in Borrow dale, 

Under whose awful branches lingered pale 

‘Fear Trembling Hope, and Death, the skeleton,

 And Time and Shadow ‘, and though week the verse 

That would they beauty fain, oh fain rehearse, 

May love defend thee from oblivion’s curse. 

Explanatory Word – Meanings:

Fain = glad, pleased. Consecrate= to make or collect for holy and pious purposes. Lay = song, hymn. Unto thy honour= in honour and esteem of the casuarina tree. Repose= rest. Alas= word used for expressing grief and dejection. Numbered = counted. Done = finished, end, over. Death – less= immortal, everlasting. Awful= dreadful, fearful. Awful branches = big branches that appear dreadful. Lingered = hang. Pale = yellow in look, colourless. Trembling = wavering, shuddering. Defend= save, guard, protect. Oblivion’s curse= after sometime all is forgotten.


The poetess has already indicated her emotional attachment with the casuarina tree in the early stanzas of this poem. She has pointed out that the casuarina tree has its own importance in her life. In this stanza the poetess describes her feelings towards the casuarina tree in a clearer and bigger way. She expresses her wish to compose a song in honour of the casuarina tree. This tree was greatly liked by her sister Aru and brother Abju.

Both of them are dead now. Her brother and sister used to play under this tree. Thus, her emotions are deeply associated with that tree and it is why she loves the tree so much. The tree reminds the poetess those sweet moments that she has enjoyed in the company of her sister and brother under the tree. The poetess tells that she does not know where her deceased brother and sister are at the present time but she sincerely hopes when she too will die, her memory will keep her attached to the dear casuarina tree.

The poetess believes that the sweet memories will keep her in the contact with the tree after her departure from this mortal world. The poetess is uncertain about the standard and quality of her song. She thinks that her song is a weak song. In spite of the weakness of the song, she believes that her faith is pure and strong and it shall certainly be protected by her deep love and in this way she shall also be remembered like her deceased brother and sister after her death. Thus, this poem describes the deep love of the poetess towards the tree. The whole poem is a vivid and sentimental description of the relationship between the poetess and the tree.

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