(1) I think that I shall never see
(2) A poem lovely as a tree.
(3) A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
(4) Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
(5) A tree that looks at God all day,
(6) And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
(7) A tree that may in summer wear
(8) A nest of robins in her hair;
(9) Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
(10) Who intimately lives with rain.
(11) Poems are made by fools like me,
(12) But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer was an american poet mainly remembered for his poem “Trees”. Kilmer’s work is regarded as so old-fashioned that it is almost archaic. An amount of his works remain undiscovered, and from what we know of his published works, he was a dramatic and simple poet. When he was deployed in Europe during World War I, he was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his time.
Couplet: two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit.
The layout of this poem can be divided into six couplets, with each rhyming. The rhyme scheme is constant throughout the poem’s couplets, driving home an almost repetitive force. The couplets also give the poem a classic, sophisticated style.
This poem has been called one of the worst ever written. It’s been called so old-fashioned that it doesn’t hold meaning. That it is so religious it could be treated as a religious study.
I disagree with that mentality entirely. Granted, I can see the heavy religious themes, and the older, romantic writing style. Nonetheless, it is an elegant and pretty poem.
The basic idea is that whomever God is, he has the ability to trump even the most decidedly beautiful things of human creation. We could summarize that by knowing that while we can plant the seed to grow a tree, God can poof one out of no previous existence.
Humans, fickle and picky as we are, try desperately to capture the beauty of nature in our most romantic, elegant writing. We will take 1000 words to describe the falling of leaves from the trees, when we have no means to do so accurately. The beauty in nature is so unobtainable. We really cannot even comprehend just how magnificent the world is around us. Try as we will, we can never give it justice.
Our attempts are feeble; our descriptions false. The boundaries of the English language broke at the ability to do the world justice. Our capabilities are limited, and we will always try to succeed, but failure is inevitable. Because try as we may to use poetry and language to describe a tree, we can never build one with words. Only God could, and we can not trump him.
One of this poem’s main purposes is to exemplify the beauty of nature, and more specifically, trees. This picture instantly struck me, as the trees are magnificent in the sky. The sky plays an important role in this picture as well. The stars are beyond visible, and there are many colors in comparison to the black silhouette of the trees. These trees really do seem to look at “God” all day, whether in the literal, religious sense, with the sky serving as heaven, or in a more figurative, metaphorical sense, with space and the natural beauty of the world serving as a godly figure.