(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. tri budhi sastrio says:

    Dear Mr. Kilmer

    I will use your poem as one of many famous poems I use as the data source for may dissertation. If you the readers have something to help in perdfecting the analysis to this poem, please feel free to send them to my email. thank you! – [email protected]

  2. Yvonne Gault says:

    Do you know if there is any source that might still have the music for “Trees”? I would love to be able to get a copy for my granddaughter, a piano student.

  3. Maurice Van der Bek says:

    I first discovered this poem placed under a tree at Fort Kochi, Kerala, Southern India. Being a tree lover myself it immediately caught my attention,and I felt that I could never have said it as well myself. It’s a lovely poem and mirrors my feelings exactly. Thankyou,

  4. taylor smith says:

    This is one of my most favorite poems I’ve ever read. It made me think differently then the way the way I used to think of trees before a tree was just a tree. I think it would be lucky to be a tree having the birds singing songs and nest of the branch’s of the tree. When i read this poem it relaxes me and makes me feel good

    sorry about the mess up on the other comment!!

  5. taylor smith says:

    this is one of my favourite poems ive ever read.it makes me think differntly then the way i used to think of trees. before a tree was just a tree i thought it would be lucky to be a tree.Having all the brids singing and make nest in the branches. It just relax’s me and makes me think of nice places.

  6. michelle says:

    althought this piece of poem is short, but it fully represented the tree.this is a wonderful piece of poem…

  7. Alta Jones says:

    As linguistics are my key to knowledge, this poem that’s haunted me for so many years has deep meaning
    Trees are people- that’s where the ‘family tree’
    comes from. Sometimes people misconstrue metaling
    into other peoples lives with words that Ernest Hemmingway put it best. If good intentional angels
    try to help you, just pour it down the sink.
    Alta Jones

  8. Clarita Baterna Plaza says:

    This poem touches my heart so much. It reminds me of my mother who taught me this when I was a child. As I am already a mother, I also teach this to my child.

  9. Purple Violet says:

    I first heard this poem sung in a commercial years ago when I was 5. I had never forgoten the first lines of this poem. I came across this poem again in highschool on a computer activity. The next time I saw this on my way home to Calamba, it was posted line per line along the with the trees on the highway.
    I love this poem, I forget from time to time but every time i remember it just overwhelms me.
    This is one of the most remarkable poem’s ever. It’ll always remind me of going home to Calamba!

  10. Hazel D. Inado says:

    I really like this poem most… it was great! I also admired the author of this poem.. its a great contribution to us…

  11. Dennis St Clair says:

    I learned this poem in grade school. “Trees” on its own is beautiful, we can all appreciate its imagery. Knowing that its author was killed in combat makes the poem and its beauty, “tragically” beautiful, yet sad with the loss of the author’s life. It makes me sad to think of how wonderful our world would be if such people did not die young, but lived their full lives.

  12. Carolyn Randall says:

    I remember learning this poem in school when I was very young. It was such a touching poem that I never forgot it. I remember saying the lines from this poem;it seemed to make everything alright and brought a warmth to my heart and tears to my eyes. We are the lucky ones to have such beautiful trees to enjoy. I have been thinking about this poem and I finally found it and will hang it in my home, so I can teach my children and grandchildren what love is.

    Thank you,

  13. Carolyn says:

    I remember learning this poem in school when I was very young. It was such a touching poem that I never forgot it. I remember reciting the lines from this poem; it seemed to make everything alright and brought such a warmth to my heart and tears to my eyes. We are the lucky ones to have such beautiful creations, which God created for us to enjoy. I have been thinking about this poem for a long time and I finally found it. Now I can enjoy it and teach my children and grandchildren what love is.

    Thank you,

  14. Annie says:

    I have an enormous Eastern Cottonwood tree in my yard and my elderly neighbor hates it…he complains about the mess it makes and is constantly telling me to have it removed…it’s the most amazing tree and I love it…one day I took a picture of the tree and made it a bit transparent and imposed this poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer over it and am contemplating giving it to my neighbor…it may not help but I feel the need to share this poem with my neighbor…take a look…


  15. Frankie says:

    We all learnt this “off by heart”, as we said then, when I was a kid. So did all the other kids my age in Australia. It’s one of the few poems that I can still recite. Thank you for including it here.

  16. felicia says:

    I loved this poem, like most, since childhood. It was Alfalfa recitation on The Little Rascals that did it for me. My father also would recite this to my siblings and me.

  17. Quina Baterna says:

    As a child I grew with this poem tatooted on my mind, I would read it everyday when I was about 5 years old, knowing he was a soldier at war but still had the courage to see the beauty of the things around him, I admire his strenght and ability to see things clearly.. I live in a place where there are many trees and every time I hear his poem it makes me smile knowing that I dont live in a time where these trees can only be remembered as pictures on walls or backrounds on photos. This poem will remind me and probably a lot more people about our natures beauty. We should remember we shouldn’t spoil God’s gift for we’re not sure when he’ll take these gifts away.. I’m not sure how anyone could forget such a wonderfully written poem and never remember it again.

  18. BILL AIKENS says:


  19. Brendan Webber says:

    Kilmer was a soldier. He fought with valour as a sergeant in the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and saw the horrors of that Great War.
    Yet he was unbowed. He still knew beauty and lyric, gifts easily lost in war. He wrote this poem, perhaps, as the samurai composed haiku before going into battle.

  20. Julie Morgana says:

    This poem has lasted almost 100 years and still connects with our hearts when we read it. There is a huge Garry Oak near my house that caused me to remember this poem which I had not read for many years. So happy to see it is on the Internet!!!

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