Summary of The Laburnum Top by Ted Hughes

Edward James ‘Ted’ Hughes was a Modern English poet and critics ranked him as one of the best poets of the period. Among the important poets of the latter half of the twentieth century, Ted Hughes’ special contribution to English poetry lies in the creation of a poetic world with a central interest in wild animals and birds. His poetic inspiration is born out of and focused on the peculiar but intimate influence that animals of forests, trees and the sky have on a sensitive human spirit.

“The Laburnum Top” is a very powerful poem in which the laburnum symbolizes the hardships in life. The poem describes the laburnum tree whose seeds have not only fallen but also the leaves have turned yellow. It is an afternoon in September and the tree top is silent until a goldfinch appears. As soon as the goldfinch appears, there is a sudden strong tremor in the tree; there are noises of twitching of wings and chirping in bird language. The whole tree trembles. The engine of the bird’s family has appeared that is the mother goldfinch has brought food for her babies. The movement of the goldfinch is like a lizard, sleek and smooth. She is the engine of her family, which means she is working to provide nutrition to the family just like the engine is the major part of a machine.
In the end, the goldfinch again launches herself in the sky in a mysterious way and the laburnum is reduced to silence and emptiness again.

Suggested Reading: Summary of The Laburnum Top by Ted Hughes in Hindi

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Laburnum: a small tree with hanging branches of yellow flowers and poisonous seed.
Goldfinch: a small singing bird with yellow feathers on wings.
Twitch: movement of a small body part.
Chirrup: sound made by birds
Startlement: amazement
Sleek: Smooth
Chitterling: singing sound of bird.
Stokes- here, add fuel to the engine. In the poem, the goldfinch is the source of fuel to her family
Flirts: moves briskly
Eerie: strange or mysterious
Infinite: the sky
Subsides: reduces