(For Mrs. Henry Mills Alden)

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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees


  1. David says:

    Back in 1963, this poem came up in my A-Level GCE question paper. I did not recognise it even though the Paul Robeson record had been played ad nauseam on the radio, and my critique tore it to shreds as simplistic, childish and obvious – I recall saying something really smart like “one can only agree with the penultimate line and the last line is self evident.” Still, I passed the exam, so maybe the marker agreed!

  2. Joseph Buczek says:

    The meaning behind the poem is clear. We should appreciate through our reasoning that there is a Power far greater than us that gives us life and happiness. Know that you should be thankful for your life and that you should respect all people and things. There are far too many people who dont know this and wrongly do what suits them without regard for others.

  3. kathryn mcwhorter says:

    Trees was always one of my favorites,so when my son was in the 3rd grade, he asked me to help him learn it for a school class assignment. He learned it quickly, and within an hour,said he like to try it by himself!You can imigine my pride, as he said each line with true expression, but the last two lines brought tears to my eyes, along with the pride, when he said “Poems are made by fools like me, BUT NOBODY !! CAN MAKE A TREE–LIKE–G-O-D ! ! !

  4. Shany says:

    I read this poem and recited it in school. I made me realize what God is capable of and the smallest thing like a Tree has so much detail. It can be made it to a great poem, which I enjoyed so much. I liked the flow of the poem and I agree I had no idea this poem was written by a male. 🙂

  5. Nico Silva says:

    I think the poem flowed really well, and I liked the last stanza a lot.

  6. Roselynn von Heister says:

    My heart can sing again.
    When ever I hear this poem it paints a picture of the tree and how glorius and beautiful it is. Gods gift to us all.

  7. arlene abotog says:

    i know this poem since when i was in high school.. my teacher taught me to memorize this poem.. i dont know why but i easily catch up the meaning of the lines and memorize it easily.. this has been my inspiration to continue promoting the love in our nature.:)

  8. Wonder says:

    In Elementary school we use to sing trees in the auditorium, It wouild put me in an amazing amosphere because of this poem being so beautiful. Ms. Kilmer must have been in extraordinary amoration to have written such a wonderful poem. I will remember it forever.

  9. christine howard says:

    This is one of the most beautiful poems I have read. As I love trees, particularly natives, this poem has a very special meaning for me. If only more people could relate to and share these beautiful words.

  10. Joe Tregoning says:

    My mum used to sing this poem as she did the housework.
    When she visited her sister,both would sing it as a duet
    round the piano.
    As a boy it made me think about the wonder of God’s creation. Now I know the wonder of His salvation.
    Thank you mum.

  11. Dr. Eduardo C. Bacaltos says:

    During my high school days, the poem that was written by Joyce Kilmer is very nice and excellent. For me, trees serve as the lungs of our planet. Trees also provide cooling shade, block cold winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our surroundings and communities. To improve health and harmony with nature all citizens in the world must plan trees, a tree-growing and tree-caring activities are part of civic duty of every citizen to help in the global challenge to combat climate change and global warning.

  12. ANDROO says:


  13. M. Wu says:

    I read the poem ” Trees” in my English literature textbook when I was in junior high. I came across it again when in Music lesson we sang a song the lyric of which is this poem. All the time, I thought the poem is the work of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow until a few days ago when I learned from the TV news that a library in New Brunswick , NJ, was dedicated to Kilmer, who is the author for this famous poem.

  14. Trees says:

    I am caring for my 94 year old grandmother, who has alzheimers dementia, and when she looks out my window at a lovely weeping pepper tree, she begins reciting parts of your poem. She wasn’t able to recall of the words, so thru a search a found this lovely poem. It isn’t much, but to her, it makes her day, everyday.


  15. Cassie Smith says:

    I loved this poem! Definetly in one of my top favorites!

  16. William says:

    I had always that it was a beautiful poem. But I had an English professor who said that it was a bad poem. She had picked it apart piece by piece and pointed out all of the flaws. For instance, she pointed out how ridiculous it was to imagine the Earth having a breast. But I believe you shouldn’t coldly analyze poetry piece by piece. You should let the poetry take control of your emotions and let it run wild. Then you will feel what the poet intends you to feel.

  17. Juliana says:

    I am a University student asked to anaysises “Trees” in relataion to an essay saying it was a ‘bad’ poem. Personally, i think it is beautiful and the words flow as easily and as gently as the wind blowing through a tree.

  18. Kristinia says:

    this poem is in my top 5 fav poems . i 1st herd about this poem from my grandpa when looking 4 a poem 4 a project @ school. i have ben inthralled w/ the poem ever scencce. my fav part is the vary end when Kilmer says poems are written by fools like me but only God can make a tree.

  19. zujey says:

    i like that poem

  20. Helen Bishop says:

    This Poem has long been a favorite of mine. I first heard it in school,many years ago. I feel a tree is one of The most beautiful of God’s creations. Each time I look up at one it makes me want to Praise Him.

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