WR Two Trees
This poem is from a collection of poetry published in 2009.
1 One morning, Don Miguel got out of bed
with one idea rooted in his head:
to graft his orange to his lemon tree.
It took him the whole day to work them free,
5 lay open their sides, and lash them tight.
For twelve months, from the shame or from the fright
they put forth nothing; but one day there appeared
two lights in the dark leaves. Over the years
the limbs would get themselves so tangled up
10 each bough looked like it gave a double crop,
and not one kid in the village didn’t know
the magic tree in Miguel’s patio.
The man who bought the house had had no dream
so who can say what dark malicious whim
15 led him to take his axe and split the bole*
along its fused seam, then dig two holes.
And no, they did not die from solitude;
nor did their branches bear a sterile fruit;
nor did their unhealed flanks weep every spring
20 for those four yards that lost them everything,
as each strained on its shackled root to face
the other’s empty, intricate embrace.
They were trees, and trees don’t weep or ache or shout.
And trees are all this poem is about.
“Two Trees” from RAIN by Don Paterson. Copyright © 2009 by Don Paterson. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The use of which of the following techniques hints that the speaker’s assertions in the final two lines of the poem (lines 23-24) should not be taken at face value?
Hyperbole in line 4
Simile in line 10 D
A structural shift at line 13
Near rhyme at lines 17 and 18
Personification in lines 21-22
In lines 23-24 (“They . . . about”), the speaker’s tone is best described as
Which of the following best describes how the break between the two stanzas affects the poem’s narrative?
It marks the transition to a new point in the narrative after a lapse of time.
It marks the transition to the retelling of the same story from a different perspective.
It separates the main narrative from a flashback that relates an episode from Don Miguel’s past.
It separates the main narrative from an episode foreshadowing the destruction of the two trees.
It separates the main narrative from a section that uses the stream-of-consciousness technique to convey Don Miguel’s impressions.
Which of the following best describes the function of lines 17-22 in the context of the poem as a whole?
They interrupt the narrative to create empathy and suspense regarding the fate of the trees.
They interrupt the narrative to criticize Don Miguel’s motives and the results of his actions.
They deliver the narrative’s unexpected resolution.
They deliver the intended moral of the narrative.
They interrupt the narrative to justify the actions of the man who bought Don Miguel’s house.
The figure of the “man who bought the house” (line 13) serves to highlight which of the following traits in Don Miguel?
His practical nature
His physical vitality
His unconventional ideas
His scientific precision
His frugal habits
According to the speaker, the actions of the “man who bought the house” in lines 13-16 are driven by
resentment of Don Miguel
concern for the well-being of the trees
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