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Poems About Trees

Table of Contents

Poems About Trees
Beech Trees in Frederiksdal near Copenhagen
by Christian Ernst Bernhard Morgenstern

Poems About Trees

  1. To a Tree by Annette Wynne
  2. Trees by Joyce Kilmer
  3. Trees by Joaquin Miller
  4. Trees by Bliss Carman
  5. To an Old Tree by Annette Wynne
  6. The Tree That Lives Beside the Brook by Annette Wynne
  7. The Sound of the Trees by Robert Frost
  8. The Message of the Tree by Alice Polk Hill
  9. The Heart of the Tree by Century
  10. The Friendly Tree by Annette Wynne
  11. Under the Trees by Anna Hempstead Branch
  12. The Tree Party by A. L. Shattuck
  13. The Shepherd's Tree by John Clare
  14. Trees in Autumn by John Jay Chapman
  15. Friendly Tree, This Is Your Day by Annette Wynne
  16. Woodman, Spare that Tree! by George Pope Morris
  17. The River and the Tree by Margaret E. Sangster
  18. Tit For Tat by Christopher Morley
  19. Autumn Colors by Christopher Morley
  20. The Tree Stands Very Straight and Still by Annette Wynne
  21. The Green Tree in the Fall by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  22. The Tree by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
  23. Strange Tree by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  24. The Poor Trees Stand and Shiver So by Annette Wynne
  25. The Music of the Trees by Charles A. Heath
  26. The Tall Trees Look Out Very Far by Annette Wynne
  27. The Message of the Tree by Alice Polk Hill
  28. Outside the Door by Annette Wynne
  29. The Tree Outside by Annette Wynne
  30. Trees to Let by Annette Wynne
  31. The Straight Young Trees by Annette Wynne
  32. Good Timber by Douglas Malloch
  33. The Still Trees by Gigi Ryan
  34. Elm Tree Poems

  35. The Elm Trees by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  36. The Old Elm of Newbury by Hannah Flagg Gould
  37. Fir Tree Poems

  38. The Fir Tree by Anonymous
  39. The Little Fir-Trees by Evaleen Stein
  40. Firwood by John Clare
  41. More Types of Trees

  42. Child's Song in Spring by Edith Nesbit
  43. The Hemlock by Emily Dickinson
  44. Now the Lilac Tree's in Bud by Bliss Carman
  45. Poplar Trees are Happiest by John Russell McCarthy
  46. Poplars by Hilda Conkling
  47. Poplars in the Wind by Angela Morgan
  48. A Fallen Beech by Madison Cawein
  49. My Hickory Tree by Ellen P. Allerton
  50. The Old Butternut Tree by Ellen P. Allerton
  51. The Tree of Heaven by Bliss Carman
  52. Silver and Lavender by William Shattuck
  53. Cedars by Grace Hazard Conkling
  54. An Encounter by Robert Frost
  55. Locust Tree in Bloom by Hilda Conkling
  56. Bare Butternut Tree by Hilda Conkling
  57. Magnolia by Hilda Conkling
  58. Horse-Chestnut Cottage by Hilda Conkling
  59. Chestnuts by Emily Huntington Miller

    Orchard Poems

  1. The Orchard by John Jarvis Holden
  2. In Blooming Orchards by John Burroughs
  3. A Flower of the Fields by Madison Cawein
  4. In the Orchard by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  5. The Old Orchard Trees by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  6. The Orchard by Jean Blewett
  7. Cherry Tree Poems

  8. Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now by A.E. Houseman
  9. The Secret by Anonymous

More Tree Poem Pages

Poems About Trees

Nothing gives more yet asks less in return, than a tree; particularly the apple.

– Jonathan Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed)
  1. Trees

    by Joyce Kilmer

    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.

  2. Trees

    by Joaquin Miller

    A thousand miles of mighty wood,
    Where thunder-storms stride fire-shod;
    A thousand plants at every rod,
    A stately tree at every rood;
    Ten thousand leaves to every tree,
    And each a miracle to me—
    Yet there be men who doubt of God!

  3. The Sound of the Trees

    by Robert Frost

    I wonder about the trees.
    Why do we wish to bear
    Forever the noise of these
    More than another noise
    So close to our dwelling place?
    We suffer them by the day
    Till we lose all measure of pace,
    And fixity in our joys,
    And acquire a listening air.
    They are that that talks of going
    But never gets away;
    And that talks no less for knowing,
    As it grows wiser and older,
    That now it means to stay.
    My feet tug at the floor
    And my head sways to my shoulder
    Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
    From the window or the door.
    I shall set forth for somewhere,
    I shall make the reckless choice
    Some day when they are in voice
    And tossing so as to scare
    The white clouds over them on.
    I shall have less to say,
    But I shall be gone.

  4. The Message of the Tree

    by Alice Polk Hill

    When this old world was young, then grew a tree,
    Beneath it flowers bloomed in dust and sand,
    The birds aswing upon its limbs sang free,
    And dreary earth became enchanted land.
    Then suddenly before the steps of man
    Appeared its limbs flung out against the blue;
    He with its leafy boughs a home began—
    From this first home the earth to Eden grew.

    The silent tree that listens by the road;
    If it had lyric lips what songs 'twould sing,
    Of good and bad bound in the human load;
    Wrecked homes—false friends—the sore from gossip's sting,
    The cruel word that leaves a lasting smart,
    The broken vow that scalds the cheek with tears,
    The happy laugh that springs from happy heart—
    The silent tree keeps secret thru the years!

    The forest stands like tall cathedral spires;
    One feels a something sacred and sublime;
    A something great that charms and never tires,
    Which reaches far—back to the dawn of time,
    And points beyond to ages yet to be.
    The heavy laden kneeling on the sod,
    Inspired and urged on by the mighty tree,
    Breathes there a prayer and feels the peace of God.

    Within the love-locked branches of the wood,
    Deep rooted in warm earth; limbs pointing high—
    Christ's message sings to man of brotherhood;
    It falls gently like music from the sky.
    Oh, men of Colorado save the tree!
    And build in our own state its glory strong,
    Here let it sing the message sweet and free,
    'Tis sweeter far than any poet's song.

  5. Trees

    by Bliss Carman

    In the Garden of Eden, planted by God,
    There were goodly trees in the springing sod,—

    Trees of beauty and height and grace,
    To stand in splendor before His face.

    Apple and hickory, ash and pear,
    Oak and beech and the tulip rare,

    The trembling aspen, the noble pine,
    The sweeping elm by the river line;

    Trees for the birds to build and sing,
    And the lilac tree for a joy in spring;

    Trees to turn at the frosty call
    And carpet the ground for their Lord's footfall;

    Trees for fruitage and fire and shade,
    Trees for the cunning builder's trade;

    Wood for the bow, the spear, and the flail,
    The keel and the mast of the daring sail;

    He made them of every grain and girth
    For the use of man in the Garden of Earth.

    Then lest the soul should not lift her eyes
    From the gift to the Giver of Paradise,

    On the crown of a hill, for all to see,
    God planted a scarlet maple tree.

  6. To an Old Tree

    by Annette Wynne

    The tree must stand, it cannot run;
    Whatever comes of snow or sun
    It has to bear; it has no fears;
    Knowing not regret nor tears
    It stands and stretches to the sky
    Without a murmur, plaint or sigh—
    And this has stood a thousand years,
    And seen ten thousand storms go by!

  7. The Tree That Lives Beside the Brook

    by Annette Wynne

    The tree that lives beside the brook,
    May see itself if it should look;
    But perhaps it does not try.
    It would rather see the sky
    Than look into the brook and trace
    The shadows of its leafy face.

  8. The Heart of the Tree

    by Century

    What does he plant who plants a tree?
    He plants the friend of sun and sky;
    He plants the flag of breezes free,
    The shaft of beauty, towering high;
    He plants a home to heaven anigh;
    For song and mother croon of bird
    In hushed and happy twilight heard—
    The treble of heaven's harmony—
    These things he plants who plants a tree.

    What does he plant who plants a tree?
    He plants cool shade and tender rain.
    And seed and bud of days to be,
    And years that fade and flush again;
    He plants the glory of the plain;
    He plants the forest's heritage—
    The harveat of a coming age;
    The joys that unborn eyes shall see—
    These things he plants who plants a tree.

    What does he plant who plants a tree?
    He plants in sap and leaf and wood,
    In love of home and loyalty
    And far cast thought of civic good—
    His blessing on the neighborhood
    Who in the hollow of his hand
    Holds all the growth of all our land—
    A nation's growth from sea to sea
    Stir in his heart who plants a tree.

  9. The Friendly Tree

    by Annette Wynne

    I've found a place beside a friendly tree,
    Where I'll hide my face when the world hurts me,
    For the tree will never hurt; I shall love it to the end;
    It shall have a dear, dear name:
    "My true and silent friend."

  10. Under the Trees

    by Anna Hempstead Branch

    The wonderful, strong, angelic trees,
    With their blowing locks and their bared great knees
    And nourishing bosoms, shout all together,
    And rush and rock through the glad wild weather.

    They are so old they teach me,
    With their strong hands they reach me,
    Into their breast my soul they take,
    And keep me there for wisdom's sake.

    They teach me little prayers;
    To-day I am their child;
    The sweet breath of their innocent airs
    Blows through me strange and wild.

    So many things they know,
    So learnèd with the ebb and flow
    By which the seasons come and go.
    Still the forefather stands
    With unforgetting eyes,
    Forever holding in his tranquil hands
    The fruit that makes us wise.

    So many things they bear,
    Whisperings small and dear!
    The little lizard has a voice clear,
    Squirrel and mole.
    A wild and pleasant speech
    Our Lord has given to each.
    Dear masters, pray you teach
    The language of the woodchuck in his hole.
    So many things they praise
    In earnest, worshipful ways,
    The Little Moment and the Ancient of Days.
    To one they yield a flower
    That blossoms for an hour;
    The other they praise with all their singing blood
    That they so long have stood.

    So many things they love.
    The frail ecstatic gnats that move
    Like planets whirling in a sky,
    These do they lean above
    Even like Heaven, while they flame and die.

    Here are our neighbors, the good weeds,
    And, look you, all the brown industrious seeds
    With busy workmanship achieve
    Green citadels of grass,
    And minarets and domes of shining flowers.

    Absorbed and radiant, perpetually they pass.
    The little workers with their subtle powers
    Lay their foundations in the sod,
    While the tree, that knows all from so long ago,
    Watches the busy weaving to and fro,
    And smiles on them like God.

    Now I am brave again,
    Strong again and pure.
    I have washed my spirit clean of men,
    I am established, sure.
    I have drunk the waters of delight
    From fountains that endure
    Yes, I have bathed my soul
    Where the rushing leaves carouse.
    I have drunk the air that freely flows
    And washes their green boughs.

    I never feel afraid
    Among the trees;
    Of trees are houses made;
    And even with these,
    Unhewn, untouched, unseen,

    Is something homelike in the safe sweet green,
    Intimate in the shade.
    Something remembered haunts me,
    A familiar aspect suddenly enchants me;
    These things were so
    When I was here, hundreds of years ago.

    Oh, not to-day have I the first time seen
    This pool of sunshine, this bending green,
    This knotted soil, and underneath the stone
    The small gray water singing all alone.
    But when my naked soul came wandering down
    On the pilgrimage, kind hands did succor me
    And clothed me in the guise of grass or soil,
    Or a gnat maybe! Making me a shelter
    Of root or stone! For surely in their eyes
    I see a look of query and surmise,
    A begging for love,
    As humble parents look upon a child
    Returned more wise than they
    And strive with all they know to please him so
    That he will stay.
    Ah, he has traveled far, and many years been gone,
    Yet still he is their son, their son, their son

    My wistful kinsfolk, I will not forget
    Your simple patois! Oh, 't were shame on me
    To grow oblivious to my father's speech!
    But I will go
    With men, yes, with the angels, slipping so
    Into the old vernacular! They will smile
    To hear the sweet provincialisms come
    With tender thoughts of home.
    And God Himself
    When I am praising Him, with the great mirth
    And radiant ceremonials, will be kind,
    That even His Heaven has not rid my mind
    Of the quaint customs of my native earth.

    We are all brothers! Come, let's rest awhile
    In the great kinship. Underneath the trees
    Let's be at home once more, with birds and bees
    And gnats and soil and stone. With these I must
    Acknowledge family ties. Our mother, the dust,
    With wistful and investigating eyes
    Searches my soul for the old sturdiness,
    Valor, simplicity! Stout virtues these,
    We learned at her dear knees.
    Friend, you and I
    Once played together in the good old days.
    Do you remember? Why, brother, down what wild ways
    We traveled, when—
    That's right! Draw close to me!
    Come now, let's tell the tale beneath the old roof-tree.

  11. The Tree Party

    by A. L. Shattuck

    We had a fine party last night on the lawn;
    All the trees and the flowers were invited.
    It never broke up till the first peep of dawn.
    And the guests went away quite delighted.

    The Maple and Pine gave this banquet so fine.
    Spread out in the moonlight before us;
    The music was planned by the Whippoorwill band,
    With a cricket and katydid chorus.

    The jolliest set in the garden had met—
    Not a scoffer was there, nor a mourner,
    Except a rude thorn, whom they treated with scorn,
    As he grumbled away in his corner.

    The loveliest creatures wore emerald green,
    With dewdrops for jewels, resplendent;
    But the stately Rose Queen, all in scarlet was seen,
    And in purple her Lilac attendant.

    Now, the Oak is a hundred years old, as they tell,
    And very exalted his station;
    And so, on this midsummer night, it befell
    That they gave him a royal ovation.

    With a dignified grace he arose in his place
    And thanked all his neighbors politely,
    Described the rough ways of his pioneer days
    And the hardships recalled now so lightly.

    Then all the night long there was laughter and song,
    In a language the trees comprehended,
    Until daylight fell strong on the mirth-making throng
    And the famous tree party was ended.

  12. The Shepherd's Tree

    by John Clare

    Huge elm, with rifted trunk all notched and scarred,
    Like to a warrior's destiny! I love
    To stretch me often on thy shadowed sward,
    And hear the laugh of summer leaves above;
    Or on thy buttressed roots to sit, and lean
    In careless attitude, and there reflect
    On times and deeds and darings that have been —
    Old castaways, now swallowed in neglect, —
    While thou art towering in thy strength of heart,
    Stirring the soul to vain imaginings
    In which life's sordid being hath no part.
    The wind of that eternal ditty sings,
    Humming of future things, that burn the mind
    To leave some fragment of itself behind.

  13. Trees in Autumn

    by John Jay Chapman

    The poets have made Autumn sorrowful;
    I find her joyous, radiant, serene.
    Her pomp is hung in a deep azure sky
    That turns about the world by day and night,
    Nor loses its bright charm.
    And when the trees resign their foliage,
    Loosing their leaves upon the cradling air
    As liberally as if they ne'er had owned them,—
    They show the richer for the nakedness
    That weds them with the clarity of heav'n.

  14. Friendly Tree, This Is Your Day

    by Annette Wynne

    Friendly tree, this is your day,
    So we'll stop our work and play
    And talk of you,
    And all the good things that you do.

    Standing still and quiet there,
    Sending branches into air,
    Making pleasant shade around,
    Delving far beneath the ground,
    Holding all year safe from harm
    Little nests within your arm,
    Keeping firmly where you are,
    Reaching up to touch a star,
    Growing, working, just as I,
    Seeking God within the sky.

  15. Woodman, Spare that Tree!

    by George Pope Morris

    Woodman, spare that tree!
    Touch not a single bough!
    In youth it sheltered me,
    And I'll protect it now.
    'Twas my forefather's hand
    That placed it near his cot;
    There, woodman, let it stand,
    Thy axe shall harm it not!

    That old familiar tree,
    Whose glory and renown
    Are spread o'er land and sea,
    And wouldst thou hew it down?
    Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
    Cut not its earth-bound ties;
    O, spare that aged oak,
    Now towering to the skies!

    When but an idle boy
    I sought its grateful shade;
    In all their gushing joy
    Here too my sisters played.
    My mother kissed me here;
    My father pressed my hand --
    Forgive this foolish tear,
    But let that old oak stand!

    My heart-strings round thee cling,
    Close as thy bark, old friend!
    Here shall the wild-bird sing,
    And still thy branches bend.
    Old tree! the storm still brave!
    And, woodman, leave the spot;
    While I've a hand to save,
    Thy axe shall hurt it not.

  16. The Tree

    by Jones Very

    I love thee when thy swelling buds appear
    And one by one their tender leaves unfold,
    As if they knew that warmer suns were near,
    Nor longer sought to hide from winter's cold;
    And when with darker growth thy leaves are seen
    To veil from view the early robin's nest,
    I love to lie beneath thy waving skreen
    With limbs by summer's heat and toil opprest;
    And when the autumn winds have stript thee bare,
    And round thee lies the smooth untrodden snow,
    When nought is thine that made thee once so fair,
    I love to watch thy shadowy form below,
    And through thy leafless arms to look above
    On stars that brighter beam when most we need their love.

  17. The River and the Tree

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    "You are white and tall and swaying," sang the river to the tree,
    "And your leaves are touched with silver—but you never smile on me;
    For your branches murmur love songs to the sun-kissed turquoise sky,
    And you seem so far above me that I always hurry by!"

    "You are laughing in your shallows, you are somber in your deeps,
    And below your shining surface there's a heart that never sleeps;
    But all day you pass me, dancing, and at evening time you dream,
    And I didn't think you liked me," sang the birch-tree to the stream.

    So they got a bit acquainted on a glowing summer day,
    And they found they liked each other (which is often times the way);
    And the river got so friendly, and it ran so very slow,
    That the birch-tree shone reflected in the water down below!

  18. Tit For Tat

    by Christopher Morley

    I often pass a gracious tree
    Whose name I can't identify,
    But still I bow, in courtesy
    It waves a bough, in kind reply.

    I do not know your name, O tree
    (Are you a hemlock or a pine?)
    But why should that embarrass me?
    Quite probably you don't know mine.

  19. Autumn Colors

    by Christopher Morley

    The chestnut trees turned yellow,
    The oak like sherry browned,
    The fir, the stubborn fellow,
    Stayed green the whole year round.

    But O the bonny maple
    How richly he does shine!
    He glows against the sunset
    Like ruddy old port wine.

  20. The Tree Stands Very Straight and Still

    by Annette Wynne

    The tree stands very straight and still
    All night long far on the hill;
    But if I go and listen near
    A million little sounds I hear,
    The leaves are little whispering elves
    Talking, playing by themselves,
    Playing softly altogether
    In the warm or windy weather,
    Talking softly to the sky
    Or any bird that dartles by,
    O little elves within the tree,
    Is there no word to tell to me?

  21. The Green Tree in the Fall

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    Did you forget to bud in Spring,
    O Green Tree in the Fall,
    That now you wear these fresh young leaves
    As for a coronal?

    All of your mates within the wood
    Are in the crimson leaf,
    They had their swift, enamored spring,
    Their summertime too brief.

    But you—what chance befell that you
    Were cheated of the Spring,
    That now you cling so fast to leaves
    Wherein no bird will sing?

    My heart is with you, little tree,
    For I was cheated too,
    And now I grasp at what I missed
    And cling as fast as you.

  22. The Tree

    by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

    The Tree's early leaf-buds were bursting their brown;
    "Shall I take them away?" said the Frost, sweeping down.
    "No, leave them alone
    Till the blossoms have grown,"
    Prayed the Tree, while he trembled from rootlet to crown.

    The Tree bore his blossoms, and all the birds sung;
    "Shall I take them away?" said the Wind, as he swung.
    "No, leave them alone
    Till the berries have grown,"
    Said the Tree, while his leaflets quivering hung.

    The Tree bore his fruit in the midsummer glow;
    Said the girl, "May I gather thy berries now?"
    "Yes, all thou canst see;
    Take them; all are for thee,"
    Said the Tree, while he bent down his laden boughs low.

  23. Strange Tree

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    Away beyond the Jarboe house
    I saw a different kind of tree.
    Its trunk was old and large and bent,
    And I could feel it look at me.

    The road was going on and on
    Beyond to reach some other place.
    I saw a tree that looked at me,
    And yet it did not have a face.

    It looked at me with all its limbs;
    It looked at me with all its bark.
    The yellow wrinkles on its sides
    Were bent and dark.

    And then I ran to get away,
    But when I stopped to turn and see,
    The tree was bending to the side
    And leaning out to look at me.

  24. The Poor Trees Stand and Shiver So

    by Annette Wynne

    The poor trees stand and shiver so,
    Like ragged beggars in a row,
    Without a cloak in frost and snow.

    I think it's strange about the trees—
    In summer when there's little breeze
    They all dress up rich as you please.

    No beggars then, but fine and grand
    Like Princes of a mighty land
    Across the world in rows they stand.

    But now in cold they shiver so
    Like ragged beggars in a row—
    Without a cloak in wind and snow.

  25. The Music of the Trees

    by Charles A. Heath

    How I love to hear the rustle of the leaves upon the trees
    When the foliage of summer is a moving in the breeze
    When the oak and beech and maple are a tuning up the air
    As they hear the quaking aspen sending signals everywhere.

    The deciduous forest people are a music making band
    With their symphonies so simple that a child can understand
    For there's meaning in their rythm and a pleasure 'mong the trees
    When the wind is blowing through them and a stirring all the leaves.

    There's an overture in whispers which is soothing to the ear
    Then a chorus full of comfort just a chasing out your fear
    As the louder it is sounding and the louder yet again
    Till at last are joys abounding when it falls in sweet refrain.

    Yes, it brings you heaps of solace when the wind is blowing soft
    In a lullaby of nature which will bear you way aloft
    Till you leave this world of trouble with its fretting and its care
    As you listen to the rustle of the leaves a playing there.

    O, I love to stop and hearken to the music of the trees
    As the wind is soughing through them or a playing with the leaves
    There's a harmony that holds you in the noises of the wood
    Where I never tire of listening for it does a fellow good.

  26. The Tall Trees Look Out Very Far

    by Annette Wynne

    The tall trees look out very far,
    Perhaps as far as where you are;
    But I can't see so far around,
    For I must stay quite near the ground.

  27. Outside the Door

    by Annette Wynne

    Outside the door the bare tree stands,
    And catches snowflakes in its hands,
    And holds them well and holds them high,
    Until a puffing wind comes by.

  28. The Tree Outside

    by Annette Wynne

    The tree outside stands straight and tall
    And never can lie down at all;
    For if it once should take a rest,
    I fear for each small swinging nest;
    And so untiredly it stands
    And holds up in its leafy hands
    The little nests; and soon and late
    I bless my good tree, tall and straight,
    I bless its kind strong loving arms,
    That hold the birds and nests from harms,
    It never does grow tired at all,
    I love you, Tree, straight, kind, and tall.

  29. Trees

    by Annette Wynne

    I've pleasant rooms to rent, you've heard?
    Well, step inside, dear Mr. Bird;
    I'll take you up and let you see
    The rooms in my apartment tree;
    And, Mrs. Bird, does this please you?—
    I think you'll find no better view
    Around, nor any rooms so high—
    Such windows facing on the sky!

    You'll take the rooms at once, you say?
    Well, Mr. Bird, how will you pay?
    "A hundred little songs a day!"

    And so my tree is rented now;
    A nest is swinging from each bough;
    And I grow richer listening
    To all the songs my tenants sing.

  30. The Straight Young Trees

    by Annette Wynne

    The straight young trees too proudly stand
    Erect, apart, to take a brother's hand,
    But later when grown old and strong and wise,
    They see with understanding eyes,
    And then across the road they bend to grasp
    A brother's hand in friendly leafy clasp;
    And as the changing seasons come and go
    Thus bravely linked they welcome sun and snow,
    And friendly time but makes them stronger, kinder, closer grow.

  31. Good Timber

    by Douglas Malloch

    The tree that never had to fight
    For sun and sky and air and light,
    But stood out in the open plain
    And always got its share of rain,
    Never became a forest king
    But lived and died a scrubby thing.

    The man who never had to toil
    To gain and farm his patch of soil,
    Who never had to win his share
    Of sun and sky and light and air,
    Never became a manly man
    But lived and died as he began.

    Good timber does not grow with ease,
    The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
    The further sky, the greater length,
    The more the storm, the more the strength.
    By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
    In trees and men good timbers grow.

    Where thickest lies the forest growth
    We find the patriarchs of both.
    And they hold counsel with the stars
    Whose broken branches show the scars
    Of many winds and much of strife.
    This is the common law of life.

  32. The Still Trees

    by Gigi Ryan

    Early morning, sun begins to rise,
    Waking birds with joy besong the skies.
    The dew reflects His glory from the grass,
    Why are the trees so solemn I then ask?

    Full will fresh new clothing for the spring,
    So often lisping praises as limbs swing.
    Ah, they stand in awe of God on high,
    Choosing to be still, and know He’s nigh.

  33. Elm Tree Poems

  34. The Elm Trees

    by Lydia Howard Sigourney

    I do remember me
    Of two old elm-trees' shade,
    With mosses sprinkled at their feet,
    Where my young childhood play'd;
    While the rocks above their head
    Frown'd out so stern and gray,
    And the little crystal streamlet near
    Went leaping on its way.

    There, side by side, they flourish'd,
    With intertwining crown,
    And through their broad embracing arms
    The prying moon look'd down;
    And I deem'd as, there I linger'd—
    A musing child, alone—
    She sought my secret heart to scan
    From her far silver throne.

    I do remember me
    Of all their wealth of leaves,
    When summer, in her radiant loom,
    The burning solstice weaves;
    And how, with firm endurance,
    They braved an adverse sky,
    Like Belisarius, doom'd to meet
    His country's wintry eye.

    I've roam'd through varied regions,
    Where stranger-streamlets run,
    And where the proud magnolia flaunts
    Beneath a southern sun,
    And where the sparse and stinted pine
    Puts forth its sombre form,
    A vassal to the arctic cloud,
    And to the tyrant storm,

    And where the pure unruffled lakes
    In placid wavelets roll,
    Or where sublime Niagara shakes
    The wonder-stricken soul,
    I've seen the temple's sculptured pile,
    The pencil's glorious art,
    Yet still those old green trees I wore
    Depictured on my heart.

    Years fled; my native vale I sought,
    Where those tall elm-trees wave;
    But many a column of its trust
    Lay broken in the grave.
    The ancient and the white-hair'd men.
    Whose wisdom was its stay,
    For them I ask'd, and Echo's voice
    Made answer, "Where are they?"

    I sought the thrifty matron,
    Whose busy wheel was heard
    When the early beams of morning
    Awoke the chirping bird;
    Strange faces from her window look'd,
    Strange voices fill'd her cot,
    And, 'neath the very vine she train'd,
    Her memory was forgot.

    I left a youthful mother,
    Her children round her knee,
    Those babes had risen into men,
    And coldly look'd on me;
    But she, with all her bloom and grace,
    Did in the churchyard lie,
    While still those changeless elms upbore
    Their kingly canopy.

    Though we, who 'neath their lofty screen
    Pursued our childish play,
    May show amid our sunny locks
    Some lurking tints of gray,
    And though the village of our love
    Doth many a change betide,
    Still do those sacred elm-trees stand,
    In all their strength and pride.

  35. The Old Elm of Newbury

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Did ever it come in your way to pass
    The silvery pond with its fringe of grass;
    And, threading the lane hard by, to see
    The veteran ELM OF NEWBURY?

    You saw how its roots had grasped the ground
    As if it had felt that the earth went round,
    And fastened them down with determined will
    To keep it steady, and hold it still.
    Its aged trunk, so stately and strong
    Has braved the blasts as they're rushed along,
    Its head has towered, and its arms have spread,
    While more than a hundred years have fled!

    Well, that old elm, that is now so grand,
    Was once a twig in the rustic hand
    Of a youthful peasant, who went one night
    To visit his love, by the tender light
    Of the modest moon and her twinkling host,
    While the star that lighted his bosom most,
    And gave to his lonely feet their speed,
    Abode in a cottage beyond the mead!

    'T was the peaceful close of a summer's day;
    Its glorious orb had passed away;
    The toil of the field till the morn had ceased,
    For a season of rest to man and beast.
    The mother had silenced her humming wheel;
    The father returned for the evening meal,
    The thanks of one who had chosen the part
    Of the poor in spirit, the rich in heart,
    Who, having the soul's grand panacea,
    Feel all is added that's needful here;
    And know this truth of the human breast,
    That, wanting little, is being blest.
    The good old man in his chair reclined,
    At a humble door, with a peaceful mind,
    While the drops from his sun-burnt brow were dried
    By the cool, sweet air of the eventide.

    The son from the yoke had unlocked the bow,
    Dismissing the faithful ox to go
    And graze in the close. He had called the kine
    For their oblation at day's decline.
    He'd gathered and numbered the lambs and sheep,
    And fastened them up in their nightly keep.
    He'd stood by the coop till the hen could bring
    Her huddling brood safe under her wing;
    And made them secure from the hooting owl,
    Whose midnight prey was the shrieking fowl.
    When all was finished, he sped to the well
    Where the old gray bucket hastily fell,
    And the clear cold water came up to chase
    The dust of the field from his neck and face,
    And hands and feet, till the youth began
    To look renewed in the outer man;
    And soon arrayed in his Sunday's best,
    The stiff new suit had done the rest;
    And the hale, young lover was on his way,
    Where, through the fen and the field it lay;
    And over the bramble, the brake and the grass,
    As the shortest cut to the house of his lass.

    It is not recorded how long he staid
    In the cheerful home of the smiling maid;
    But when he came out, it was late and dark,
    And silent—not even a dog would bark,
    To take from his feeling of loneliness,
    And make the length of his way seem less.
    He thought it was strange, that the treacherous moon
    Should have given the world the slip so soon;
    And, whether the eyes of the girl had made
    The stars of the sky in his own to fade,
    Or not, it certainly seemed to him,
    That each grew distant, and small, and dim;
    And he shuddered to think he now was about
    To take a long and a lonely route;
    For he did not know what fearful sight
    Might come to him through the shadows of night!

    An Elm grew close by the cottage's eaves;
    So, he plucked him a twig well clothed with leaves,
    And sallying forth with the supple arm,
    To serve as a talisman parrying harm,
    He felt that, though his heart was so big,
    'T was even the stouter for having the twig.
    For this, he thought, would answer to switch
    The horrors away, as he crossed the ditch,
    The meadow and copse, wherein, perchance,
    Will-o'-the-wisp might wickedly dance;
    And wielding it keep him from having a chill
    At the menacing sound of 'Whip-poor-will!'
    And his flesh from creeping beside the bog
    At the harsh, bass voice of the viewless frog:—
    In short, he felt that the switch would be
    Guard, plaything, business and company!

    When he got safe home, and joyfully found
    He still was himself! and living! and sound!
    He planted the twig by his family cot,
    To stand as a monument marking the spot
    It helped him to reach: and, what was still more,
    Because it had grown by his fair one's door.

    The twig took root; and as time flew by,
    Its boughs spread wide, and its head grew high;
    While the priest's good service had long been done,
    Which made the youth and the maiden one;
    And their young scions arose and played
    Around the tree, in its leafy shade.

    But many and many a year has fled
    Since they were gathered among the dead.
    And now their names with the moss o'ergrown,
    Are veiled from sight on the church-yard stone,
    That leans away, in a lingering fall,
    And owns the power that shall level all
    The works that the hand of man hath wrought,
    Bring him to dust, and his name to nought.
    While, near in view, and just beyond
    The grassy skirts of the silver pond,
    In its 'green old age,' stands the noble tree,
    The veteran ELM OF NEWBURY.

  36. Fir Tree Poems

  37. The Fir Tree

    I remember, I remember,
    The fir trees dark and high;
    I used to think their slender tops
    Were close against the sky:
    It was a childish ignorance,
    But now 'tis little joy
    To know I'm farther off from heav'n
    Than when I was a boy.

    – Thomas Hood
    I Remember, I Remember
    by Anonymous

    The little fir tree—the Christmas tree—
    Is dearest of all the trees to me.
    When covered with presents and candles bright,
    I'm sure It is the prettiest sight.
    Whenever I see a fir tree now,
    I look for the cross at the end of the bough.
    For that is how I can tell the tree
    From others that look much like it to me.

  38. The Little Fir-Trees

    by Evaleen Stein

    Hey! little evergreens,
    Sturdy and strong,
    Summer and autumn-time
    Hasten along.
    Harvest the sunbeams, then,
    Bind them in sheaves,
    Range them and change them
    To tufts of green leaves.
    Delve in the mellow-mold,
    Far, far below.
    And so,
    Little evergreens, grow!
    Grow! Grow
    Grow, little evergreens, grow!

    Up, up so airily,
    To the blue sky,
    Lift up your leafy tips
    Stately and high;
    Clasp tight your tiny cones,
    Tawny and brown,
    By and by buffeting
    Rains will pelt down.
    By and by bitterly
    Chill winds will blow,
    And so,
    Little evergreens, grow!
    Grow! Grow!
    Grow, little evergreens, grow!

    Gather all uttermost
    Beauty, because,—
    Hark, till I tell it now!
    How Santa Claus,
    Out of the northern land,
    Over the seas,
    Soon shall come seeking you,
    Evergreen trees!
    Seek you with reindeer soon,
    Over the snow:
    And so,
    Little evergreens, grow!
    Grow! Grow!
    Grow, little evergreens, grow!

    What if the maple flare
    Flaunting and red,
    You shall wear waxen white
    Taper instead.
    What if now, otherwhere,
    Birds are beguiled,
    You shall yet nestle
    The little Christ-Child.
    Ah! the strange splendor
    The fir-trees shall know!
    And so,
    Little evergreens, grow!
    Grow! Grow!
    Grow, little evergreens, grow!

  39. Firwood

    by John Clare

    The fir trees taper into twigs and wear
    The rich blue green of summer all the year,
    Softening the roughest tempest almost calm
    And offering shelter ever still and warm
    To the small path that towels underneath,
    Where loudest winds—almost as summer's breath—
    Scarce fan the weed that lingers green below
    When others out of doors are lost in frost and snow.
    And sweet the music trembles on the ear
    As the wind suthers through each tiny spear,
    Makeshifts for leaves; and yet, so rich they show,
    Winter is almost summer where they grow.

  40. More Types of Trees

  41. Child's Song in Spring

    by Edith Nesbit

    The silver birch is a dainty lady,
    She wears a satin gown;
    The elm tree makes the old churchyard shady,
    She will not live in town.

    The English oak is a sturdy fellow,
    He gets his green coat late;
    The willow is smart in a suit of yellow,
    While brown the beech trees wait.

    Such a gay green gown God gives the larches—
    As green as He is good!
    The hazels hold up their arms for arches
    When Spring rides through the wood.

    The chestnut's proud, and the lilac's pretty,
    The poplar's gentle and tall,
    But the plane tree's kind to the poor dull city—
    I love him best of all!

  42. The Hemlock

    by Emily Dickinson

    I think the hemlock likes to stand
    Upon a marge of snow;
    It suits his own austerity,
    And satisfies an awe

    That men must slake in wilderness,
    Or in the desert cloy, —
    An instinct for the hoar, the bald,
    Lapland's necessity.

    The hemlock's nature thrives on cold;
    The gnash of northern winds
    Is sweetest nutriment to him,
    His best Norwegian wines.

    To satin races he is nought;
    But children on the Don
    Beneath his tabernacles play,
    And Dnieper wrestlers run.

  43. Now the Lilac Tree's in Bud

    by Bliss Carman

    Now the lilac tree's in bud,
    And the morning birds are loud.
    Now a stirring in the blood
    Moves the heart of every crowd.

    Word has gone abroad somewhere
    Of a great impending change.
    There's a message in the air
    Of an import glad and strange.

    Not an idler in the street,
    But is better off to-day.
    Not a traveller you meet,
    But has something wise to say.

    Now there's not a road too long,
    Not a day that is not good,
    Not a mile but hears a song
    Lifted from the misty wood.

    Down along the Silvermine
    That's the blackbird's cheerful note!
    You can see him flash and shine
    With the scarlet on his coat.

    Now the winds are soft with rain,
    And the twilight has a spell,
    Who from gladness could refrain
    Or with olden sorrows dwell?

  44. Poplar Trees are Happiest

    by John Russell McCarthy

    Poplar trees are laughing trees,
    With lilting silver call.
    Willow trees droop weepingly
    And never laugh at all.

    Maple trees are gorgeous trees
    In crimson silks and gold;
    Pine trees are but sober trees,
    Aloof and very old.

    Black-oak trees walk sturdily,
    And live oaks eager run;
    The sycamores stand lazily
    Beneath the summer sun.

    But poplar trees are laughing trees
    Wherever they may grow—
    The poplar trees are happiest
    Of all the trees I know.

  45. Poplars

    by Hilda Conkling

    The poplars bow forward and back;
    They are like a fan waving very softly.
    They tremble,
    For they love the wind in their feathery branches.
    They love to look down at the shallows,
    At the mermaids
    On the sandy shore;
    They love to look into morning's face
    Cool in the water.

  46. Poplars in the Wind

    by Angela Morgan

    They dreamed so long of all the flying things—
    Flying clouds, with opalescent wings;
    Flying birds, who had no fetters anywhere,
    All the enraptured creatures of the air—
    That, when the storm came sweeping down the sky,
    They lifted all their leaves with the one cry;
    "Now—now we shall fly!"

    And I, who saw them romping in high glee,
    Whose torn, mad banners boasted liberty,
    Said: "There is something here of wild adventure and delight,
    For trees are surely winged creatures poised for flight,"
    And watched their revelry and almost seemed to see
    How every tossing branch was saying, "Free! Free!"
    Enchanted of the sky, each tree forgetting
    Its earthly setting.

    But in the rain-stilled quiet of the afternoon
    I passed again, and saw how all too soon
    Their revelry had ended, and each stood
    Subdued and chastened by the rebuking wood,
    Each stared with wonder on the enduring ground,
    Where still their roots had anchor, firmly bound
    By laws that had no thought for yearning cries
    Or longing branches, straining toward the skies.

    Thinking of human poplars whom I knew,
    Musing, I said: "The same grim law holds true—
    People, like trees, reach out to claim the sky,
    Just to be free! Theirs, too, the same wild cry.
    Theirs, too, the dream of fetters cast away,
    Till comes the quiet of the revealing day.
    And lo! rebuking laws whose roots are found
    Deeper than any tree that ties the ground,
    Sunk in the conscience of the human race,
    No frenzied wish may tear them from their place;
    No dream of any tree may lift it from the sod
    No word of man may change the laws of God.
    By being true to edicts earth declares are right
    Mortals and trees may soar into the light;
    By being faithful to their human bars
    Mortals and trees may tower to the stars.

  47. A Fallen Beech

    by Madison Cawein

    Nevermore at doorways that are barken
    Shall the madcap wind knock and the moonlight;
    Nor the circle which thou once didst darken,
    Shine with footsteps of the neighbouring moonlight,
    Visitors for whom thou oft didst hearken.

    Nevermore, gallanted with cloudy laces,
    Shall the morning, like a fair freebooter,
    Make thy leaves his richest treasure-places;
    Nor the sunset, like a royal suitor,
    Clothe thy limbs with his imperial graces.

    And no more, between the savage wonder
    Of the sunset and the moon's up-coming,
    Shall the storm, with boisterous hoof-beats, under
    Thy dark roof dance, Faun-like, to the humming
    Of the Pan-pipes of the rain and thunder.

    Oft the Satyr-spirit, beauty-drunken,
    Of the Spring called; and the music measure
    Of thy sap made answer; and thy sunken
    Veins grew vehement with youth, whose pressure
    Swelled thy gnarly muscles, winter-shrunken.

    And the germs, deep down in darkness rooted,
    Bubbled green from all thy million oilets,
    Where the spirits, rain-and-sunbeam-suited,
    Of the April made their whispering toilets,
    Or within thy stately shadow footed.

    Oft the hours of blonde Summer tinkled
    At the windows of thy twigs, and found thee
    Bird-blithe; or, with shapely bodies, twinkled
    Lissom feet of naked flowers around thee,
    Where thy mats of moss lay sunbeam-sprinkled.

    And the Autumn with his gypsy-coated
    Troop of days beneath thy branches rested,
    Swarthy-faced and dark of eye; and throated
    Songs of roaming; or with red hand tested
    Every nut-bur that above him floated.

    Then the Winter, barren-browed, but rich in
    Shaggy followers of frost and freezing,
    Made the floor of thy broad boughs his kitchen,
    Trapper-like, to camp in; grimly easing
    Limbs snow-furred and moccasined with lichen.

    Now, alas! no more do these invest thee
    With the dignity of whilom gladness!
    They—unto whose hearts thou once confessed thee
    Of thy dreams—now know thee not! and sadness
    Sits beside thee where, forgot, dost rest thee.

  48. My Hickory Tree

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Towering close at my cottage door,
    Tall and royal, and grand to see,
    With broad arms reaching the greensward o'er—
    O, a mighty King is my hickory tree!

    Changing its guise with the changing scene,
    As the wheels of the year are onward rolled;
    Clad all the summer in deepest green,
    Now resplendent in robes of gold.

    Here gather the earliest birds of spring,
    When the earth awakes from its frozen rest—
    The tiny bluebird with sapphire wing,
    The robin sweet with its glowing breast.

    When vines are green at the window frame,
    The brown thrush sings and the dove coos low,
    And the oriole comes like a flash of flame,
    And hangs its nest from the outmost bow.

    On the velvet grass, in the grateful shade,
    The workmen lie as they rest at noon,
    Cheered by the bird songs overhead,
    Lulled by the honey bee's drowsy tune.

    And here, with friends, on summer eves,
    We sit in the sunset's mellow glow—
    Sit till the night winds toss the leaves,
    And moonbeams sift to the sward below.

    O happy scenes! But now no more
    We seek the shade; the wind blows cold;
    The frost comes creeping about the door;
    The dead flowers rot on the sodden mold.

    Splendid yet is my hickory tree,
    As the gorgeous leaves come fluttering down
    Like flakes of gold; but soon I shall see
    Only sightless heaps, all sere and brown.

    Shook by the winds that go hurrying by,
    Down to the turf the ripe nuts fall;
    And the boughs shall soon stretch toward the sky,
    Stripped of their nuts and leaves and all.

    When deep drifts lie on the frozen farms,
    The naked giant, in scornful glee,
    Shall toss in the storm his strong, bare arms—
    O, a mighty King is my hickory tree!

  49. The Old Butternut Tree

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    It stood by the old front gate—oh, long ago.—
    Braving the summer storm and the winter snow;
    And fresh among msmory's treasures, so dear to me,
    Stands in perpetual greenness that ancient tree.

    Out on the roadside green, where passing feet
    Turned to its wide-spread shade from the dusty street,
    And laughing children, loitering home from school,
    Sought, with their cheeks aflame, its shadows cool.

    Here gathered the early birds, and built and sung;
    The oriole's cunning nest from the branches swung;
    Its broad arms sheltered from the noontide's blaze;
    And the nuts dropped on the turf in the autumn days.

    In summer eves, when work was laid away,
    And rest and coolness ended the sultry day,
    When up the west the sunset unrolled its gold,
    Like billows of gorgeous sea, fold over fold,

    Then gathered the household band about the knee
    Of the old Butternut, the homestead tree
    They watched till the glow went out and dews came down,
    And the moon wore up the east her silver crown.

    All were togather then: where are they now?
    The world is wide, as the sundered dear ones know;
    And children, cradled on one mother's breast,
    Scattered, like eaglets from their mountain nest.

    The brothers are bearded men, and threads of gray
    Whiten the clustering locks from day to day.
    Each lights his household fire—so must it be—
    While strangers sit in the shade of the dear old tree.

    But, one sleeps on the hill, one far away,
    And the gray-haired sire has lain, this many a day,
    By the side of the mother who sang sweet lullabies,
    And followed our childish feet with her gentle eyes.

    A generation has passed and been laid away;
    But the dear old roadside tree stands there to-day.
    Hoary, lopped, and scared by many a storm,
    Yet the summers still veil with leaves its battered form.

    Still streams through the broken boughs the sunset rays;
    Still drop the nuts on the turf in the autumn days;
    But the olden joys can never come back to me,
    And the household gods have flown the homestead tree.

  50. The Tree of Heaven

    by Bliss Carman

    Young foreign-born Ailanthus,
    Because he grew so fast,
    We scorned his easy daring
    And doubted it would last.

    But lo, when autumn gathers
    And all the woods are old,
    He stands in green and salmon,
    A glory to behold!

    Among the ancient monarchs
    His airy tent is spread.
    His robe of coronation
    Is tasseled rosy red.

    With something strange and Eastern,
    His height and grace proclaim
    His lineage and title
    Is that celestial name.

    This is the Tree of Heaven,
    Which seems to say to us,
    "Behold how rife is beauty,
    And how victorious!"

  51. Silver and Lavender

    by William Shattuck

    The asters now put on the lavender
    Of grief remembered, yet grief half-assuaged —
    The tender purple in the sky astir
    Upon the ground in little stars engaged:
    Tears have been shed, these tiny eyes declare;
    Tears shall be shed, but still is Heaven fair.

    Pale mourning for dead Summer clothes the silver-rod —
    Those frosty flowers that still defy the frost —
    Whose arms droop gently toward the crisping sod,
    Whose upward gaze bespeaks a hope not lost;
    White clouds reflect their beauties far on high:
    Silver and lavender clothes earth and sky.

  52. Cedars

    by Grace Hazard Conkling (For a Color-Etching by George Senseney)

    They are so dark, the cedars,
    They keep so still a house!
    Muffled in purple silence
    They fold their brooding boughs.

    Yet they are shaped like music
    When the heart listens most!
    They are the wind's grave gesture,
    The singing river's ghost,

    And twilight in their branches
    Is murmurous and cool,
    Like strings of water falling
    Into a waiting pool.

  53. An Encounter

    by Robert Frost

    Once on the kind of day called “weather breeder,”
    When the heat slowly hazes and the sun
    By its own power seems to be undone,
    I was half boring through, half climbing through
    A swamp of cedar. Choked with oil of cedar
    And scurf of plants, and weary and over-heated,
    And sorry I ever left the road I knew,
    I paused and rested on a sort of hook
    That had me by the coat as good as seated,
    And since there was no other way to look,
    Looked up toward heaven, and there against the blue,
    Stood over me a resurrected tree,
    A tree that had been down and raised again—
    A barkless spectre. He had halted too,
    As if for fear of treading upon me.
    I saw the strange position of his hands—
    Up at his shoulders, dragging yellow strands
    Of wire with something in it from men to men.
    “You here?” I said. “Where aren’t you nowadays
    And what’s the news you carry—if you know?
    And tell me where you’re off for—Montreal?
    Me? I’m not off for anywhere at all.
    Sometimes I wander out of beaten ways
    Half looking for the orchid Calypso.”

  54. Locust Tree in Bloom

    by Hilda Conkling

    A bough of locust blossoms for my present,
    Or just a spray is enough for me!
    They smell like honeysuckle and poppies
    Twined together . . .
    Their buds hang like green fruit . . .
    They are shoes of the wind.

  55. Bare Butternut Tree

    by Hilda Conkling

    A tree stands old and worn;
    The North has blown away its leaves.
    When I see it that way
    I wish Spring would return . . .
    How can I wait so long?

    O butter-nut tree,
    Why didn't God give you speech,
    And you without your green leaves?
    Why can't you sing small songs
    Against the wind
    For comfort?

  56. Magnolia

    by Hilda Conkling

    Oh shell-pink that you wear,
    Oh pure white bosom!
    Like a fan all spread,
    Like a sail ready to go over lapping seas,
    Sometimes birds flutter in your branches,
    But you have not many friends.
    Your friends are flowers,
    Your comrades are trees,
    But birds seem shy of you,
    And the little insects.
    I know not what your thoughts may be
    When the wind blows your flower-buds
    Single or in clusters,
    Oh beautiful magnolia
    Up against the gray stern sky!
    Your color lightens the grayness
    And purples the rain.

  57. Horse-Chestnut Cottage

    by Hilda Conkling

    Within a green and everlasting covering
    Like a coat of mail
    There lives a little old lady
    In an apartment of several rooms.
    The walls are pink on one side,
    Brown on the other;
    She must be a rich old lady to have wall-coverings
    Of changeable silk finer than spiders' webs!
    Once she got lost.
    I saw her shiny shriveled face
    Look up at me
    From the grass.
    I heard her call and call me
    In a faint and shivering voice
    To come to her quickly,
    Unlock the door for her,
    Help her up the steps
    Into the place she had always known
    Since she began at all. . . .

  58. Chestnuts

    by Emily Huntington Miller

    Down in the orchard, all the day,
    The apples ripened and dropped away;
    Tawny, and yellow, and red they fell,
    Filling the air with a spicy smell.

    There were purple grapes on the alders low,
    But the jays had gathered them long ago:
    And the merry children had plundered well,
    Hedge, and thicket, and hazel dell.

    But the sturdy chestnuts over the hill
    Guarded their prickly caskets still,
    And laughed in scorn at the wind and rain,
    Beating their burly limbs in vain.

    "Hush!" said the frost. "If you'll hold your breath
    Till hill and valley are still as death
    I will whisper a spell that shall open wide
    The caskets green where the treasures hide."

    The rain sank down and the wind was still,
    And the world was wrapped in the moonlight chill;
    And a faint white mist, like a ghost, was seen
    Creeping over the valley green.

    Over the roofs of the sleeping town,
    Over the hillsides, bare and brown;
    Field, and meadow, and wood were crossed
    By the shining trail of the silver frost.

    Close at the door of each guarded cell
    He breathed the words of his wonderful spell,
    And the bristling lances turned aside
    And every portal flew open wide.

    Up sprang the wind with a loud "Ho! ho!"
    And scattered the treasures to and fro:
    And the children shouted, "Come away!
    There is sport in the chestnut woods to-day."

  59. Orchard Poems

  60. The Orchard

    by John Jarvis Holden

    O pleasant orchard, emerald leaves
    And shining fruit the summer weaves
    Into a jewel of design
    Finer than man will e'er refine;
    But not until the springtime shows
    Her beauty in the lovely blows
    Of pear and apple, peach and cherry,
    To prove the world at last is merry.

  61. In Blooming Orchards

    by John Burroughs

    Again I walk 'mid orchard bloom
    And linger long with willing feet;
    I walk with sighs, but not in gloom,
    For in my heart is ample room
    For pensive thoughts and musings sweet.

    Ah, pensive thoughts, to these I'm prone,
    When, strolling 'neath the pink white boughs,
    I breathe the fragrance, hear the drone
    Of eager bees that come from home,
    In forest near, or gardened house.

    My thoughts go homeward with the bees;
    I dream of youth and happier days—
    Of orchards where amid the trees
    I loitered free from Time's decrees,
    And loved the birds and learned their ways.

    Oh, orchard thoughts and orchard sighs,
    Ye, too, are born of life's regrets!
    The apple bloom I see with eyes
    That have grown sad in growing wise,
    Through Mays that manhood ne'er forgets.

  62. A Flower of the Fields

    by Madison Cawein

    Bee-Bitten in the orchard hung
    The peach; or, fallen in the weeds,
    Lay rotting, where still sucked and sung
    The gray bee, boring to its seed's
    Pink pulp and honey blackly stung.

    The orchard-path, which led around
    The garden,—with its heat one twinge
    Of dinning locusts,—picket-bound
    And ragged, brought me where one hinge
    Held up the gate that scraped the ground.

    All seemed the same: the martin-box—
    Sun-warped with pigmy balconies—
    Still stood, with all its twittering flocks,
    Perched on its pole above the peas
    And silvery-seeded onion-stocks.

    The clove-pink and the rose; the clump
    Of coppery sunflowers, with the heat
    Sick to the heart: the garden stump,
    Red with geranium-pots, arid sweet
    With moss and ferns, this side the pump.

    I rested, with one hesitant hand
    Upon the gate. The lonesome day,
    Droning with insects, made the land
    One dry stagnation. Soaked with hay
    And scents of weeds the hot wind fanned.

    I breathed the sultry scents, my eyes
    Parched as my lips. And yet I felt
    My limbs were ice.—As one who flies
    To some wild woe.—How sleepy smelt
    The hay-sweet heat that soaked the skies!

    Noon nodded; dreamier, lonesomer
    For one long, plaintive, forest-side
    Bird-quaver.—And I knew me near
    Some heartbreak anguish.… She had died.
    I felt it, and no need to hear!

    I passed the quince and pear-tree; where,
    All up the porch, a grape-vine trails—
    How strange that fruit, whatever air
    Or earth it grows in, never fails
    To find its native flavour there!

    And she was as a flower, too,
    That grows its proper bloom and scent
    No matter what the soil: she, who,
    Born better than her place, still lent
    Grace to the lowliness she knew.…

    They met me at the porch, and were
    Sad-eyed with weeping.—Then the room
    Shut out the country's heat and purr,
    And left light stricken into gloom—
    So love and I might look on her.

  63. In the Orchard

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    O apple leaves, so cool and green
    Against the summer sky,
    You stir, although the wind is still
    And not a bird goes by.
    You start,
    And softly move apart
    In hushed expectancy.
    Who is the gracious visitor
    Whose form I cannot see?

    O apple leaves the mystic light
    All down your dim arcade
    Why do your shadows tremble so
    Half glad and half afraid
    The air
    Is an unspoken prayer
    Your eyes look all one way
    Who is the secret visitor
    Your tremors would betray

  64. The Old Orchard Trees

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Why cut them away? The dear old trees,
    They never did aught of harm,
    But scattered their perfume out to the breeze,
    And sheltered the birds from the storm.

    For an age they have stood on the town’s outer meads,
    The skirmish and battle have braved;
    Alike they have gazed on the war’s bloody deeds,
    And the white flag of peace as it waved.

    But you cut them away! my pleading is vain!
    In their shade moves the carpenter’s hands,
    I watched him to-day as he leveled his plane,
    And he spoke of the architect’s plans.

    Then a wave of distress in my heart flowed anew,
    For dearly I love each old tree;
    Ah me! many secrets are hidden from you
    That the apple trees whispered to me.

    I used to go by, and the sweet morning air,
    Like incense, arose from the spot,
    It would crowd from my heart some pain gnawing there,
    While the world with its cares was forgot.

    Here, I’ve heard the first news of the blue bird and dove,
    And the round, silver note of the thrush,
    A concert, with sweet variations of love,
    Seemed pouring from tree and from bush.

    I walked there to-day; as an accent profane
    That falls on the heart and the ear,
    I heard the harsh echo of hammer and plane,
    And the pant of a mill in the rear.

    So I muffled my face with the veil that I wore—
    Time, that moment of pain can’t appease;
    Unless like the birds from the scene I can soar,
    And like them, forget the old trees.

  65. The Orchard

    by Jean Blewett

    There's no garden like an orchard,
    Nature shows no fairer thing
    Than the apple trees in blossom
    In these late days o' the spring.

    Here the robin redbreast's nesting,
    Here, from golden dawn till night,
    Honey bees are gaily swimming
    In a sea of pink and white.

    Just a sea of fragrant blossoms,
    Steeped in sunshine, drenched in dew,
    Just a fragrant breath which tells you
    Earth is fair again and new.

    Just a breath of subtle sweetness,
    Breath which holds the spice o' youth,
    Holds the promise o' the summer—
    Holds the best o' things, forsooth.

    There's no garden like an orchard,
    Nature shows no fairer thing
    Than the apple trees in blossom
    In these late days o' the spring.

  66. Cherry Tree Poems

  67. Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now

    by A.E. Houseman.

    I wonder about the trees.
    Why do we wish to bear
    Forever the noise of these
    More than another noise
    So close to our dwelling place?
    We suffer them by the day
    Till we lose all measure of pace,
    And fixity in our joys,
    And acquire a listening air.
    They are that that talks of going
    But never gets away;
    And that talks no less for knowing,
    As it grows wiser and older,
    That now it means to stay.
    My feet tug at the floor
    And my head sways to my shoulder
    Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
    From the window or the door.
    I shall set forth for somewhere,
    I shall make the reckless choice
    Some day when they are in voice
    And tossing so as to scare
    The white clouds over them on.
    I shall have less to say,
    But I shall be gone.

  68. The Secret

    by Anonymous

    We have a secret, just we three,
    The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;
    The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
    And nobody knows it but just us three.

    But of course the robin knows it best,
    Because she built the—I shan't tell the rest;
    And laid the four little—something in it—
    I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute.

    But if the tree and the robin don't peep,
    I'll try my best the secret to keep;
    Though I know when the little birds fly about
    Then the whole secret will be out.

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