“The Trees,” is a voice with a body busy in activities and sensing intrusions that are not organic to the conventions of a nature poem. This is an (un) natural poem that narrates the fight of a population of trees to flee the confines of a greenhouse.
The poem demonstrates the inappropria teness of language itself as a greenhouse or container of nature. The speaker is a spectator to the trees’ migration, but keeps a distance from participating in the making of something out of the sight.
Although the speaker addresses the audience, her own “head is full of whispers” she’s herself an audience. The speaker reaches across the barricade between poem and audience. Adrienne Rich articulates her alertness of the many levels of inner and outer and the blurring of the boundaries between them.
The trees, “long-cramped … under the roof ‘ are trying to get out while the speaker remains in the space the trees want to escape. An open door makes the “night” and the “whole moon” and the “sky” available to the speaker; at the same time.
The speaker’s “head” is another centre, completely entered by “whispers.” The poetess is especially intrigued by her image of the trees “like newly discharged patients who are half-dazed”.