“Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain” – Trees for Joyce Kilmer

I have at least one friend who finds Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” to be sentimental doggerel, and perhaps it is. With its gentle lilting rhythm, fanciful personification, and deference to God, at the very least it seems old-fashioned. Perhaps these are the very reasons that I like it quite well, especially the couplet in the title of this post, which is what I thought of when I took these pictures of the magnolia in my front yard this morning. Oh, I am pretty partial to the closing couplet, too (with my edit thrown in):

Poems (and photos) are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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)

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3 thoughts on ““Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain” – Trees for Joyce Kilmer

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