Only God Can Make a Tree

“Only God can make a tree.”  (Alfred Joyce Kilmer)

That’s probably because it’s so hard to get the bark on.  🙂

_____________________________________________

Here’s the complete text of the poem:

“TREES” – by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918)

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.

Click here for more Poems.
Click here for more Random Thoughts.

11 Comments

  1. Margaret says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem, one that I memorized a long time ago, and still remember most of it.
    One line didn’t sound right! So I looked it up in my book of Kilmer’s poems, and the fourth line reads:-
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast.

    Just a different placement of the word “sweet”. I have no idea which one is right in the original. It doesn’t make much difference! I have always loved that poem. He wrote some other great poetry but that is his most famous one. Thanks for sharing it for all to enjoy.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Margaret – I checked a couple sources and you are right – good memory! I have made the change above.

  3. MURIEL KING says:

    A FRIEND OF MINE (EVELYN) WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHO SANG THIS AND MADE THE POEM POPULAR AS A SONG, (possibly 1930)
    EVELN IS ALWAYS MENTIONING THIS SONG AND IS ON THE PHONE AS I MAKE THIS ENQUIRY.
    SHE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THE MUSIC, CAN YOU PLEASE HELP?
    THANK YOU.
    Muriel

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Muriel – Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote the poem in 1913, and in 1922 musician Oscar Rasbach set the poem to music. I couldn’t find a recording anywhere, but it looks like there is sheet music available. Just ask for “Trees” by Oscar Rasbach. Here is some more information about it: Only God Can Make a Tree

  5. Ruthie Roberson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem, a master piece! As a grade school student-I memorized this poem and still remember most of it after ALL THESE YEARS! A beautiful lady who is now 80 years young-refered to as “The Queen Of Gospel” has recarded this poem in an incredible song rendition.
    Her name is Albertina Walker, use to sing with a group called “The Carvans” Again, thanks for stimulating a flood of precious memories from my childhood-by sharing this awsome poetry!!!!

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Ruthie – Glad you enjoy the poem so much. Thanks for sharing.

  7. V Hillman says:

    My dad died in 1972 just before a big 70year family business celebration which I could not attend.My mother told me he had a beautiful voice and sang this song. It has long been on my mind to hear it as I was only 17 when he died, and didnt know he could sing. He was of the old school of ‘tell you when you are 21’ needless to say this never happened.

  8. Philip Filippi says:

    Mr. Fowler:
    In reply to Muriel King’s question about a singer preforming the song “but only god can make a tree’
    Huell Howser has a program where he visited the forest where the General Sherman is located ..At the end of this program is this song ,very well done ..
    But I haven’t been able to locate the singers name ..
    The web site is http://www.calgold.com.
    If I find the information it will be forwarded.
    Thanks.
    Phil.

  9. Melissa mcweeney says:

    Just heard a recording on ‘California’s Gold’ – PBS Sacramento. Segment was recorded on the early 2000’s with Huell Howser. Worth a watch!

Leave a Reply