The Tree by Godofredo Burce Bunao (Poem) - Meaning and Analysis

The tree was very beautiful to me
When I was a boy
I climbed for fruit or out of a branch of the tree
Made me a toy—
A top, for instance, that spun around, carefree
And wound for joy until it toppled over and was dead.

No longer the boy,
I find the tree as beautiful as though not
Just for branch
Or a bunch of fruit but-more than that-for a bed
Or to fence the ranch
In which I raise the beasts that fill the pot
In the many shapes
My simple commerce turn them to like bread
Or fish or grapes
To feed the brood the little woman me.

There go the boys.
Go watch them, strong limb; spread up the tree,
They pluck their toys
Out of its branches, as out of my childhood tree

I shaped my joys.

Meanings and Analysis

Imagine the poet standing on a road and on the side of the road is a big tree. Such tree reminds him of his childhood. A childhood where he spent a lot of time climbing trees. Climbing trees for their sweet fruits. Climbing trees for their sturdy branches from which he'd create old-fashioned toys like spinning tops. The memory encourages him to write a poem about it.

At its core, The Tree is a poem about growing up - that memorable transition between child and adult. In this process, some things change but things remain the same and intact. Read the poem again. The poet finds trees beautiful when he was a child. He still finds them beautiful as an adult. But the reasoning behind why he finds them beautiful has changed. As a child, the tree is beautiful because it gave him sweet fruits and sturdy branches for fashioning toys. As an adult, the tree is beautiful because it gives him the materials to build furniture and fences. 

The poet also encourages the reader to watch boys climb trees so that they can also experience what he's experiencing - a sweet trip down memory lane. A trip to a childhood they'll never be able to go back to - physically at least.

The last line in the poem - "I shaped my joys" - is more open to interpretation. It could mean that the poet's childhood shaped his joys into adulthood. As an adult, he finds joy building furniture and fences from trees. The same joy he experienced as a child eating the sweet fruits of trees. Would he have enjoyed building furniture if he didn't experience climbing trees as a child? Probably not as much.