Analysis of Trees by Joyce Kilmer

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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...
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