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Poems for Tree Lovers

Sharing our love of trees.
January 27, 2016

February is a time for love and poetry. So we thought we’d share some of our favorite poetry about the love of trees.

From

Trees Against the Sky

Trees, trees against the sky—
O I have loved them well!
There are pleasures you cannot buy,
Treasurers you cannot sell,
And not the smallest of these
Is the gift and glory of trees.

—Robert William Service (1874-1958)


From

The Tree

Fair tree! for thy delightful shade
'Tis just that some return be made;
Sure some return is due from me
To thy cool shadows, and to thee.

—Anne Kingsmill Finch (1661-1720)


Maples at The Morton Arboretum
Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

—William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

 

Close up of deeply furrowed bark of a white oak
Not Dead

Walking through trees to cool my heat and pain,
I know that David’s with me here again.
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
Caressingly I stroke
Rough bark of the friendly oak.
A brook goes bubbling by: the voice is his.
Turf burns with pleasant smoke;
I laugh at chaffinch and at primroses.
All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
Over the whole wood in a little while
Breaks his slow smile.

—Robert Graves (1895-1985)


Boy with shovel helping to plant a young tree
From

Go Plant a Tree

God, what a joy it is to plant a tree,
And from the sallow earth to watch it rise,
Lifting its emerald branches to the skies
In silent adoration; and to see
Its strength and glory waxing with each spring.
Yes, 'tis a goodly, and a gladsome thing
To plant a tree.

Nature has many marvels; but a tree
Seems more than marvellous. It is divine.
So generous, so tender, so benign.
Not garrulous like the rivers; and yet free
In pleasant converse with the winds and birds;
Oh! privilege beyond explaining words,
To plant a tree.

—Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

 

East Woods with golden autumn color of sugar maples
Trees

I think that I shall never see  
A poem lovely as a tree.  
  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest  
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;  
  
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;  
  
A tree that may in summer wear  
A nest of robins in her hair;  
  
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;  
Who intimately lives with rain.
  
Poems are made by fools like me,  
But only God can make a tree.

—Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

 

Cool green branches of an Eastern hemlock
“Give me a land of boughs in leaf”

Give me a land of boughs in leaf,
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land.

—A.E. Housman (1859-1936)

 

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

—Robert Frost (1874-1963)

 

Droplets of rain on a leaf in the springtimes
"Trees need not walk the earth" 

Trees need not walk the earth 
For beauty or for bread; 
Beauty will come to them 
Where they stand. 
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry: 
A birch may wear no less the morning 
Than an oak. 
Here are no heirlooms 
Save those of loveliness,
In which each tree 
Is kingly in its heritage of grace. 
Here is but beauty’s wisdom 
In which all trees are wise. 
Trees need not walk the earth
For beauty or for bread; 
Beauty will come to them 
In the rainbow— 
The sunlight— 
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them 
As beauty came: 
In the rainbow— 
In the sunlight— 
In the rain.

—David Rosenthal