Trees was written in 1913, inspired by the beauty of the natural world, written one afternoon in Kilmer's family home in Mahwah, New Jersey. He published it as the titled work in his collection, Trees and Other Poems (1914). Its simple, lyrical verses have since been parodied by celebrated poets, notably, by Ogden Nash.
An April Day
William Trost Richards, woodland landscape, 1860
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.

Trees was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Fri, Apr 29, 2022

We feature Kilmer's poem in our collection of Children's Poems and 100 Great Poems.


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