Summary Analysis of the poem, “Trees” by Alfred Joyce Kilmer LIFE of Alfred Joyce Kilmer American poet (1886-1918) Born: New Brunswick, New Jersey Educated at: Rutgers College and Columbia University Milestones: From 1909 to 1917 he was on the staff of the New Standard Dictionary, as well as various periodicals. He was killed in France during World War I His lyric poem “Trees,” in the collection Trees and Other Poems (1914), won him popular recognition. His other works are Summer of Love (1911) and Main Street and Other Poems (1915). Summary Analysis: Trees
Alfred Joyce Kilmer I think I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed 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; Under whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives in rain. Poems are made by fools like me But only God can make a tree. I think I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote this poem when he was fascinated with the trees as he opened his window one day that morning.
He came up with the idea writing this poem personifying a person’s trait or actions to inanimate object, a tree, where he found it as a lovely idea. A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth’s sweet flowing breasts. A tree gets its water for nourishment on the ground for survival. “A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed” represents the roots clinging on to the ground while it drinks the “earth’s sweet flowing” which represents water that nourishes the life of the tree.
In connection with this, just like us, humans, we get our sustenance from the earth’s abundance and resources. These give us the strength of life for it nourishes plants and other beings. As such, it is also referred to as the Mother Earth. A tree looks at God all day And lifts her leafy arms to pray. A tree grows upward and thus seem to be reaching to God. People from all walks of life though of different races, cultures, colors or beliefs, are reaching to God, praising, worshipping, praying and thanking Him for the bountiful blessings He gave to us.
A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair. The trees’ thick foliage serves as shade and shelter for birds and other creatures. During summer time, birds rest on the “trees’ hair” which symbolizes the trees’ branches. Under whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. During winter, snow falls thus covering the trees especially its trunk. Being sturdy, trees withstand the cold. When the rain comes, trees grow better and healthier. Their leaves are not only becoming greener but also shinier.
The tree “intimately lives with rain” because rain nourishes it and makes it luxuriant. Poems are made by fools like me But only God can make a tree. A person can never make a tree because he/she is not God. Only God has the power to create a perfect natural form like a tree. “Fools” was the term used by the Alfred Joyce Kilmer to describe poets just like him, who loves to write poems as lovely as a tree. In as much that, it comes from a person’s product of his creations and imaginations.