Trees

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.

Summary of Trees

  • Popularity of “Trees”: Joyce Kilmer, a renowned American Poet and writer wrote ‘Trees’. It was written in 1913 and published in A Magazine of Verse that August in 1914 It is one of the famous lyrical poems about the beauty of natural vegetation. It also illustrates the mastery of God’s creation. The poem also represents the beauty of trees in a very realistic way.
  • “Trees” As a Representative of Wonder: The speaker adores the existence of trees and provides exclusive details about the importance and place of trees in nature. Throughout the poem, he personifies trees to highlight their importance. He says that the hungry mouth of the trees is always pressed to the earth’s flowing breasts, implying they depend on the earth for abundant resources. He adds that they lift their leafy arms to pray to God as if even they know that He is almighty and powerful. Later, he talks about the existence of trees in the forms of rain and snow. In the end, he concludes that only God creates masterpieces like trees, and we as humans are not capable enough to craft things as He does.
  • Major Themes in “Trees”: Nature, God’s creation and wonder are the major themes of this poem. The speaker overwhelmed watching the tree, understanding the existence of God’s creation and poses a question on man’s incompetence. He compares his composition with the creation of trees and argues that man is not capable of making perfect things. The poet gives certain feminine qualities to the trees; the speaker implies that the trees play an essential role in the natural world.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “Trees”

Literary devices are tools the writers use to enhance and make the texts understandable for the readers. It also allows readers to interpret a text in multiple ways. Joyce Kilmer has also used some literary devices in this poem to express his ideas. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it moves over the next line. For example,

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.”

  1. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /l/ in “Poems are made by fools like me”.
  2. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “A tree whose hungry mouth is prest”; “A nest of robins in her hair” and “And lifts her leafy arms to pray.”
  3. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in successive words such as the sound of /h/ in “A nest of robins in her hair”.
  4. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to non- human things. For example, trees are personified throughout the poem. “A tree whose hungry mouth is prest”; “And lifts her leafy arms to pray” and “A nest of robins in her hair” which shows as if the trees are humans that can perform certain actions.
  5. Simile: Simile is used to compare an object or person with something else to make meanings clear to the readers. For example, “A poem lovely as a tree”. The poet compares his composition to a tree. In the line “Poems are made by fools like me” the poet compares himself with a fool.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Trees”

Poetic Devices refer to those techniques a poet uses to bring uniqueness in his text. The analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem is given below.

  1. Rhyming Couplet: There are two constructive lines of verse in a rhyming couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme. There are twenty-eight rhyming couplets of iambic tetrameter in this poem.
  2. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. The poet has used end rhyme throughout the poem such as, “see/tree”, “say/pray” and “lain/rain”.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme followed by the entire poem is ABAB.
  4. Iambic Tetrameter: It is a type of meter having four iambs per line. The poem follows iambic tetrameter such as, “I think that I shall never see.”

Quotes to be Used

  1. The lines stated below can be used to describe the eye-catching beauty of nature one can witness in the lap of nature.

“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.”

  1. These verses can be used to express humility and show gratitude to God whose creation can be witnessed everywhere in the universe.

“Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”