Introduction

The poem ‘Grandma Climbs a Tree’ is written by Ruskin Bond. He calls his grandmother a “genius” because she could climb a tree. Even at the age of 62, she was passionate to climb a tree and learned it from her loving brother at the age of six. Everybody feared that granny would fall from a tree one day.

Explanation

Stanza 1

My grandmother was a genius. You’d like to know why? 
Because she could climb trees. Spreading or high, 
She’d be up their branches in a trice, and mind you 
When last she climbed a tree she was sixty-two.
Ever since childhood, she’d had this gift
For being happier in a tree than in a lift;

The poet calls his grandmother a genius because she could climb a tree that are tall and huge. Irrespective of her age, she could climb a tree swiftly and very fast. The poet warns the reader to not think any less of his grandmother as the last time she climbed a tree was when she was sixty-two. She has always had a gift of climbing a tree since childhood and that made her happier than any other thing in the world.

Stanza 2

And though, as years went by, she would be told
That climbing trees should stop when one grew old-
And that growing old should be gone about gracefully-
She’d laugh and say, ‘Well I’ll grow disgracefully,
I can do it better’. And we had to agree;
For in all the garden there wasn't a tree

As the years passed by, everyone started to get concerned about her love for climbing trees and was often warned to stop climbing as she was getting old and she might fall and hurt herself. When one grows old, one must not do such activities and live gracefully. Grandma did not let anyone’s words affect her and wanted to grow old disgracefully, if that is what others would call her, she didn’t mind. She knew she can climb better than all her neighbours as no one in their gardens even had a tree except her.

Stanza 3

She hadn’t been up, at one time or another 
[Having learned to climb from a loving brother 
when she was six] but it was feared by all 
That one day she’d have a terrible fall.
The outcome was different-while we were in town
She climbed a tree and couldn’t come down.

The poet then recalls grandma’s childhood and says when she was six years old, she learned climbing from her brother and everyone feared that she might fall terribly and cause an accident. However, the case was different, once she climbed the tree when others were not at home and couldn’t get down but she never fell.

Stanza 4

After the rescue,
The doctor took Granny’s temperature and said,
‘I strongly recommend a quiet week in bed’.
We sighed with relief and tucked her up well.
Poor Granny! For her, it was like a brief season in hell. 
Confined to her bedroom, while every breeze
Whispered of summer and dancing leaves.

When the grandma was rescued, she had caught a fever. The doctor had advised her to take rest for a week and to avoid doing such physical activities. It was a relief for the family but for her, it seemed like a punishment, like a brief season in hell. She felt trapped in her bedroom while the breeze outside kept calling for her to come outside.

Stanza 5

But she had held her peace till she felt stronger.
Then she sat up and said, 'i'll lie here no longer!'
And she called for my father and told him undaunted
That a house in a treetop was what she now wanted.
My dad knew his duties. He said, That's all right
You'll have what you want, dear. I'll start work tonight.'

Grandma remained patient till she felt strong enough to be able to go outside again. She couldn’t wait any longer to go outside of that room and called for the poet’s father and ordered him to build a treehouse for her. Poet’s father knew his duties and started working on them.

Stanza 6

With my expert assistance, he soon finished the chore: 
Made her a tree - house with windows and a door.
So granny moved up, and now every day
I climb to her room with glasses and tray.
She sits there in state and drinks sherry with me.
Upholding her right to reside in a tree.

The poet helped his father in building the treehouse and completed it as soon as possible, the treehouse even has doors and windows. Grandma moved up as soon as they completed the treehouse and every day the poet used to climb to her treehouse to give hare food and water. They share sherry drinks with each other while upholding her rights to like in the treehouse.

Conclusion

Ruskin Bond projects his grandmother as a feisty old lady, who could easily give the youngsters a run for their money. She followed the dictates of her heart and was unconventional in her ways. She was the happiest on the trees even at the age of 62 climbed. It is clear that she did not want to go to her grave with any of her desires unfulfilled. She should be taken as a model by us because quite often we don’t know, we lack either the conviction or the confidence to pursue our dreams. Grandma is a metaphor for free will, and through her projection, Ruskin Bond breaks the myth that women and old people cannot climb trees. Here we have a fiery old woman not only climbing trees but also living on trees in great style.