“The Beauty of the Trees”
Imagine a place with giant trees, tall bluffs overlooking the ocean, and green water lapping on the rocks below. The wind is cool and moist, the aroma of sea foam and grass fill the air, and water as far as the eye can see. Imagine this place and you have the Pacific Northwest, the home of Chief Dan George and the setting for his poem “The Beauty of the Trees. “ Chief Dan George was a leader of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a band of the Salish Indians located near coastal Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was an Indian Chief, actor, writer, and poet. “The Beauty of the Trees,” one of his most famous poems, has an underlying theme that the simple things in nature should be appreciated. The title of the poem suggests the poem will be about trees or the forest; however, it is about more than that. George presents a speaker who emphasizes the connection between him and nature, and he wants the reader to feel the same passion he does. The reader imagines a simple life, a man cooking fresh salmon over a fire as the sun sets with the trees whispering in the distance. In the final verse, the line “and the life that never goes away, they speak to me” (lines 16 and 17) the reader connects nature and the speaker to the circle of life and knows it will all happen tomorrow as nature is reliable. The last line “and my heart soars” (line 18) implies the speaker is content with life because nature is beautiful, connected to his heart, and will be the same tomorrow.
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