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Joyce Kilmer


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet 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.


 The poem is in the public domain.



Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886 – 1918) is best known for his poem, "Trees,"  but he actually produced quite a large volume of work. Had his life not ended so tragically early, many believe he would have developed into one of America's great poets. Joyce married young and fathered five children even as he was establishing himself as a teacher, writer, and lecturer. While coping with the illness of one of their children, Joyce and his wife converted from the Episcopal faith to Catholocism and he ultimately became the leading Catholic poet of his time. When World War I broke out, Joyce enlisted and had contracted to write a book about his war experiences. Unfortunately, he was killed on a French battlefield before he ever even began the book; he was only 31 when he died. Interesting side note: Joyce's father worked for Johnson & Johnson and is credited with inventing that company's famous baby powder.



Post New Comment:
I remember the first time I heard this poem...sung to music when I was a little kid. Always loved trees!
Posted 04/28/2016 03:17 PM
The best of the best. Thanks!
Posted 04/28/2016 08:46 AM
Jayne This is a wonderful post--thank you. We needed your reminder of greatness within simplicity. This one goes in my journal.
Posted 04/28/2016 08:32 AM
One of the poems I memorized in school. Still remember most of it and it's still beautiful. Simple and sweet.
Posted 04/28/2016 06:28 AM
A new favorite for me! thank-you SO much for your years of dedication to poetry, Jayne.
Posted 04/28/2016 06:03 AM
An old favourite. Thank you
Posted 04/28/2016 04:08 AM

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