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Trees

by 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.



Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886. Known for poetry that celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, he was killed after enlisting in the United States Army during World War I. Kilmer was awarded by the French the prestigious Croix de Guerre for his bravery. In 1938, the federal government purchased 3,800 acres of old growth forest in North Carolina to stop extensive logging. The tract of forest was dedicated to the memory and service of Kilmer. His name has also been given to many streets and schools across the country as well as a park in the Bronx, New York City.



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