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Somebody Give Me a Tree!
Nancy Byrd Turner


Somebody, give me or will me a tree!
I do give and bequeath this day
To her and her heirs, forever and aye,

One oak (or one ash, or whatever it be,
Pear, or poplar, or cherry tree,
Willow or maple, pine or peach,
Sassafras, chestnut, birch, or beech).

She shall own leaves, and bark, and trunk,
And all the ground that the sunlight dapples,
And all sweet earth where the roots are sunk;
She shall own acorns (or nuts, or apples,
Tassels, or cones, or whatever it bears),
And rosy blooms (or whatever it wears).

She shall have rental of every house
That bluebirds or robins may build in its boughs
(Monthly payments of chirp and song),

And the sound of the wind there all year long--
Bold north bluster and soft south airs;
She shall have resin and twig and bud,
And clean sap running through grain and wood.
All shall be hers, to the smallest claim.

Write that clearly. Then sign your name.

I never have owned, since the day of my birth,
An inch of green or an ounce of earth;
But rich as a king I’m going to be
When somebody gives me a tree!

From Silver Saturday (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1937).


Nancy Byrd Turner (1880 - 1971) was born in Virginia. A descendant of both Thomas Jefferson and Pocohantas, Nancy began writing poetry as a child. She studied to become a teacher, and did teach for a few years, but eventually she became a magazine editor. During the course of her career, she published 15 books, several songs, and her work appeared regularly in the leading magazines of her day. Late in her life, Nancy became a freelance writer and a popular lecturer.



Post New Comment:
MaryB A beautiful poem -- I would love to have a tree given to me.
Posted 08/01/2016 10:04 PM
What an exuberant skillfully-written, GREAT poem! I wish more people wrote poetry like this. Janice
Posted 08/01/2016 08:15 AM
Very nice.
Posted 07/31/2016 07:26 PM
Jean :D:
What a delightful way to think of a tree. "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree",& now we have :)
Posted 07/31/2016 06:44 PM
I loved it!
Posted 07/31/2016 12:24 PM
This is delightful!
Posted 07/31/2016 08:24 AM
Larry Schug:
Cool-renews my appreciation of the tamaracks, oaks, elms, birches, poplars, cherry, box elder, basswood, plum, apple, pine, spruce, maple and whatever trees I'm forgetting on our property that clean and provide the very air I breathe.
Posted 07/31/2016 07:48 AM
Posted 07/31/2016 02:55 AM

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