In fifth grade our class had to memorize the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer, an early American poet. Mr. Kilmer was killed by a sniper at age 31 in 1918 during the First World War. Prior to his military service, he was widely regarded as the premiere Catholic poet of the day. His writings were focused on the simple beauties of nature as well as his faith in God.
Mr. Kilmer’s poem is one of those things that for some reason or another periodically pops up in my head. This season is one of those times. As spring has sprung the past few weeks, it has been impossible not to be awed by the colors and beauty of nature. There are six shades of green outside my dining room window right now.
On a recent drive on a perfect day, the wind began to blow and the trees that lined the highway began to move. The treetops did not sway but about midpoint of each tree, the wind seemed to push the branches downward. Their tips almost brushing the earth, it appeared as though they were bowing. The trees seemed to me to be praising the Creator for the leaves and blooms that now crowned them.
It was a fantastic sight. The words from Chris Tomlin’s “We Fall Down” popped into my head and there I was singing at the top of my lungs “we fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.” I had a moment right there in the car, just me and God.
It’s difficult to understand the skeptics who would have us believe that all this beauty merely happened by chance. They just don’t get it, but Mr. Kilmer did.
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is presst
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.