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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. Trees by Joyce Kilmer
  2. Trees by Joaquin Miller
  3. Trees by Bliss Carman
  4. The Tree That Lives Beside the Brook by Annette Wynne
  5. The Sound of the Trees by Robert Frost
  6. The Message of the Tree by Alice Polk Hill
  7. The Heart of the Tree by Century
  8. Under the Trees by Anna Hempstead Branch
  9. The Tree Party by A.L. Shattuck
  10. The Shepherd's Tree by John Clare
  11. Trees in Autumn by John Jay Chapman
  12. Woodman, Spare that Tree! by George Pope Morris
  13. The River and the Tree by Margaret E. Sangster
  14. Tit For Tat by Christopher Morley
  15. Autumn Colors by Christopher Morley
  16. The Green Tree in the Fall by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  17. The Tree by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
  18. Strange Tree by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  19. The Poor Trees Stand and Shiver So by Annette Wynne
  20. Maple Tree Poems

  21. The Maple by James Russell Lowell
  22. The Maple by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  23. The Maple by H.F. Darnell
  24. Elm Tree Poems

  25. The Elm Trees by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  26. The Old Elm of Newbury by Hannah Flagg Gould
  27. Birch Tree Poems

  28. The Birch Tree by James Russell Lowell
  29. Birches by Robert Frost
  30. The Birches by Walter Pritchard Eaton
  31. White Birches by Grace Hazard Conkling
  32. Swinging on a Birch Tree by Lucy Larcom
  33. The Sun and a Birch Tree by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  34. Fir Tree Poems

  35. The Fir Tree by Anonymous
  36. The Little Fir-Trees by Evaleen Stein
  37. Firwood by John Clare
  38. More Types of Trees

  39. Child's Song in Spring by Edith Nesbit
  40. The Hemlock by Emily Dickinson
  41. Now the Lilac Tree's in Bud by Bliss Carman
  42. A Fallen Beech by Madison Cawein
  43. My Hickory Tree by Ellen P. Allerton
  44. The Old Butternut Tree by Ellen P. Allerton
  45. The Tree of Heaven by Bliss Carman
  46. Silver and Lavender by William Shattuck
  47. Cedars by Grace Hazard Conkling
  48. An Encounter by Robert Frost

    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. Apple Tree Poems

  8. An Apple Orchard in the Spring by William Martin
  9. The Old Apple-Tree by Laurence Dunbar
  10. The Little Red Apple Tree by James Whitcomb Riley
  11. Apple-Blossom by Mathilde Blind
  12. Apple-Trees by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  13. An Apple Gathering by Christina Rossetti
  14. Cherry Tree Poems

  15. Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now by A.E. Houseman
  16. 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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Maple Tree Poems

  22. The Maple

    by James Russell Lowell

    The Maple puts her corals on in May,
    While loitering frosts about the lowlands cling,
    To be in tune with what the robins sing,
    Plastering new log-huts ’mid her branches gray;
    But when the Autumn southward turns away,
    Then in her veins burns most the blood of Spring,
    And every leaf, intensely blossoming,
    Makes the year’s sunset pale the set of day.
    O youth unprescient, were it only so
    With trees you plant, and in whose shade reclined,
    Thinking their drifting blooms Fate’s coldest snow!
    You carve dear names upon the faithful rind,
    Nor in that vernal stem the cross foreknow
    That Age shall bear, silent, yet unresigned!

  23. The Maple

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Oh, tenderly deepen the woodland glooms,
    And merrily sway the beeches;
    Breathe delicately the willow blooms,
    And the pines rehearse new speeches;
    The elms toss high till they reach the sky,
    Pale catkins the yellow birch launches,
    But the tree I love all the greenwood above
    Is the maple of sunny branches.

    Let who will sing of the hawthorn in spring,
    Or the late-leaved linden in summer;
    There's a word may be for the locust-tree,
    That delicate, strange new-comer;
    But the maple it glows with the tint of the rose
    When pale are the spring-time regions,
    And its towers of flame from afar proclaim
    The advance of Winter's legions.

    And a greener shade there never was made
    Than its summer canopy sifted,
    And many a day as beneath it I lay
    Has my memory backward drifted
    To a pleasant lane I may walk not again,
    Leading over a fresh, green hill,
    Where a maple stood just clear of the wood—
    And oh! to be near it still!

  24. The Maple

    by H. F. Darnell

    All hail to the broad-leaved Maple!
    With her fair and changeful dress—
    A type of our youthful country
    In its pride and loveliness;
    Whether in Spring or Summer,
    Or in the dreary Fall,
    'Mid Nature's forest children,
    She's fairest of them all.

    Down sunny slopes and valleys
    Her graceful form is seen,
    Her wide, umbrageous branches
    The sunburnt reaper screen;
    'Mid the dark-browed firs and cedars
    Her livelier colours shine,
    Like the dawn of the brighter future
    On the settler's hut of pine.

    She crowns the pleasant hilltop,
    Whispers on breezy downs,
    And casts refreshing shadows
    O'er the streets of our busy towns;
    She gladdens the aching eyeball,
    Shelters the weary head,
    And scatters her crimson glories
    On the graves of the silent dead.

    When winter's frosts are yielding
    To the sun's returning sway,
    And merry groups are speeding
    To sugar-woods away;
    The sweet and welling juices,
    Which form their welcome spoil,
    Tell of the teeming plenty,
    Which here waits honest toil.

    When sweet-toned Spring, soft-breathing,
    Breaks Nature's icy sleep,
    And the forest boughs are swaying
    Like the green waves of the deep;
    In her fair and budding beauty,
    A fitting emblem, she,
    Of this our land of promise,
    Of hope, of liberty.

    And when her leaves, all crimson,
    Droop silently and fall,
    Like drops of life-blood welling
    From a warrior brave and tall;
    They tell how fast and freely
    Would her children's blood be shed,
    Ere the soil of our faith and freedom
    Should echo a foeman's tread.

    Then hail to the broad-leaved Maple!
    With her fair and changeful dress—
    A type of our youthful country
    In its pride and loveliness;
    Whether in Spring or Summer,
    Or in the dreary Fall,
    'Mid Nature's forest children,
    She's fairest of them all.

  25. Elm Tree Poems

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Birch Tree Poems

  29. The Birch Tree

    by James Russell Lowell

    Rippling through thy branches goes the sunshine,
    Among thy leaves that palpitate forever;
    Ovid in thee a pining Nymph had prisoned,
    The soul once of some tremulous inland river,
    Quivering to tell her woe, but, ah! dumb, dumb forever!

    While all the forest, witched with slumberous moonshine,
    Holds up its leaves in happy, happy silence,
    Waiting the dew, with breath and pulse suspended,—
    I hear afar thy whispering, gleamy islands,
    And track thee wakeful still amid the wide-hung silence.

    Upon the brink of some wood-nestled lakelet,
    Thy foliage, like the tresses of a Dryad,
    Dripping about thy slim white stem, whose shadow
    Slopes quivering down the water's dusky quiet,
    Thou shrink'st as on her bath's edge would some startled Dryad.

    Thou art the go-between of rustic lovers;
    Thy white bark has their secrets in its keeping;
    Reuben writes here the happy name of Patience,
    And thy lithe boughs hang murmuring and weeping
    Above her, as she steals the mystery from thy keeping.

    Thou art to me like my beloved maiden,
    So frankly coy, so full of trembly confidences;
    Thy shadow scarce seems shade, thy pattering leaflets
    Sprinkle their gathered sunshine o'er my senses,
    And Nature gives me all her summer confidences.

    Whether my heart with hope or sorrow tremble,
    Thou sympathizest still; wild and unquiet,
    I fling me down; thy ripple, like a river,
    Flows valleyward, where calmness is, and by it
    My heart is floated down into the land of quiet.

  30. Birches

    by Robert Frost

    When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
    I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
    But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
    Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
    Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
    So low for long, they never right themselves:
    You may see their trunks arching in the woods
    Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
    Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
    Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
    But I was going to say when Truth broke in
    With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
    (Now am I free to be poetical?)
    I should prefer to have some boy bend them
    As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
    Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
    Whose only play was what he found himself,
    Summer or winter, and could play alone.
    One by one he subdued his father’s trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer. He learned all there was
    To learn about not launching out too soon
    And so not carrying the tree away
    Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
    To the top branches, climbing carefully
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
    So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
    And so I dream of going back to be.
    It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
    I’d like to get away from earth awhile
    And then come back to it and begin over.
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
    I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
    I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
    And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
    Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
    But dipped its top and set me down again.
    That would be good both going and coming back.
    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

  31. The Birches

    by Walter Pritchard Eaton

    The little birches, white and slim,
    Gleaming in the forest dim,
    Must think the day is almost gone,
    for each one has her nightie on.

  32. White Birches

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    The clear wind swings a fairy flail
    Till all the tiptoe birches quail.
    The west is dreaming of the Grail.

    God knows I have no heart to sing!
    I wish I had forgotten how,
    For what do poems matter now,
    Music or love or anything?
    Yet I must shape my patient rhymes
    For terror of a grievous place,
    And blind my eyes with words sometimes,
    For fear of hunger on his face,
    Or pain when I can give no aid,
    Or silence where I may not come:
    As though a song could save me from
    The thought of all my world unmade!

    The birches hold their laces frail
    Against the sunlight up the Trail
    And show me heaven through a veil.

  33. Swinging on a Birch Tree

    by Lucy Larcom

    Swinging on a birch-tree
    To a sleepy tune,
    Hummed by all the breezes
    In the month of June!
    Little leaves a-flutter
    Sound like dancing drops
    Of a Brook on pebbles,—
    Song that never stops.

    Up and down we seesaw:
    Up into the sky;
    How it opens on us,
    Like a wide blue eye!
    You and I are sailors
    Rocking on a mast;
    And the world's our vessel:
    Ho! she sails so fast!

  34. The Sun and a Birch Tree

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    As I came home through Howard's lane,
    The trees were bending down with rain.

    A still mist went across their tops,
    And my coat was powdered gray with drops.

    Then I looked in the woods to see
    The limbs of the white birch tree.

    It made a bright spot in the air,
    And I thought the sun was shining there.

  35. Fir Tree Poems

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. More Types of Trees

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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?

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!"

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.”

  50. Orchard Poems

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. Apple Tree Poems

  58. An Apple Orchard in the Spring

    by William Martin

    Have you seen an apple orchard in the spring?
    In the spring?
    An English apple orchard in the spring?
    When the spreading trees are hoary
    With their wealth of promised glory,
    And the mavis sings its story,
    In the spring.

    Have you plucked the apple blossoms in the spring?
    In the spring?
    And caught their subtle odours in the spring?
    Pink buds pouting at the light,
    Crumpled petals baby white
    Just to touch them a delight—
    In the spring.

    Have you walked beneath the blossoms in the spring?
    In the spring?
    Beneath the apple blossoms in the spring?
    When the pink cascades are falling,
    And the silver brooklets brawling,
    And the cuckoo bird soft calling,
    In the spring.

    If you have not, then you know not, in the spring,
    In the spring,
    Half the colour, beauty, wonder of the spring,
    No sweet sight can I remember
    Half so precious, half so tender,
    As the apple blossoms render,
    In the spring.

  59. The Old Apple-Tree

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    There's a memory keeps a-runnin'
    Through my weary head to-night,
    An' I see a picture dancin'
    In the fire-flames' ruddy-light;
    'Tis the picture of an orchard
    Wrapped in autumn's purple haze,
    With the tender light about it
    That I loved in other days.
    An' a-standin' in a corner
    Once again I seem to see
    The verdant leaves an' branches
    Of an old apple-tree.

    You perhaps would call it ugly,
    An' I don't know but it's so,
    When you look the tree all over
    Unadorned by memory's glow;
    For its boughs are gnarled an' crooked,
    An' its leaves are gettin' thin,
    An' the apples of its bearin'
    Wouldn't fill so large a bin
    As they used to. But I tell you,
    When it comes to pleasin' me,
    It's the dearest in the orchard, —
    Is that old apple-tree.

    I would hide within its shelter,
    Settlin' in some cosy nook,
    Where no calls nor threats could stir me
    From the pages o' my book.
    Oh, that quiet, sweet seclusion
    In its fulness passeth words!
    It was deeper than the deepest
    That my sanctum now affords.
    Why, the jaybirds an' the robins,
    They was hand in glove with me,
    As they winked at me 'an warbled
    In that old apple-tree.

    It was on its sturdy branches
    That in summers long ago
    I would tie my swing an' dangle
    In contentment to an' fro,
    Idly dreaming' childish fancies,
    Buildin' castles in the air,
    Makin' o' myself a hero
    Of romances rich an' rare.
    I kin shet my eyes an' see it
    Jest as plain as plain kin be,
    That same old swing a-danglin'
    To the old apple-tree.

    There's a rustic seat beneath it
    That I never kin forget.
    It's the place where me an' Hallie —
    Little sweetheart — used to set,
    When we'd wander to the orchard
    So's no listenin' ones could hear
    As I whispered sugared nonsense
    Into her little willin' ear.
    Now my gray old wife is Hallie,
    An' I'm grayer still than she,
    But I'll not forget our courtin'
    'Neath the old apple-tree,

    Life for us ain't all been summer,
    But I guess we've had our share
    Of its flittin' joys an' pleasures,
    An' a sprinklin' of its care.
    Oft the skies have smiled upon us;
    Then again we've seen 'em frown,
    Though our load was ne'er so heavy
    That we longed to lay it down.
    But when death does come a-callin',
    This my last request shall be, —
    That they'll bury me an' Hallie
    'Neath the old apple-tree.

    Fact: Apple trees are members of the rose family (Rosaceae).


  60. The Little Red Apple Tree

    by James Whitcomb Riley

    The Little-red-apple Tree!—
    O the Little-red-apple Tree!
    When I was the little-est bit of a boy
    And you were a boy with me!
    The bluebird's flight from the topmost boughs,
    And the boys up there—so high
    That we rocked over the roof of the house
    And whooped as the winds went by!

    Hey! The Little-red-apple Tree!
    With the garden-beds below,
    And the old grape-arbor so welcomely
    Hiding the rake and hoe!
    Hiding, too, as the sun dripped through
    In spatters of wasted gold,
    Frank and Amy away from you
    And me in the days of old!

    The Little-red-apple Tree!—
    In the edge of the garden-spot,
    Where the apples fell so lavishly
    Into the neighbor's lot;—
    So do I think of you alway,
    Brother of mine, as the tree,—
    Giving the ripest wealth of your love
    To the world as well as me.

    Ho! The Little-red-apple Tree!
    Sweet as its juiciest fruit
    Spanged on the palate spicily,
    And rolled o'er the tongue to boot,
    Is the memory still and the joy
    Of the Little-red-apple Tree,
    When I was the little-est bit of a boy
    And you were a boy with me!

  61. Apple-Blossom

    by Mathilde Blind

    Blossom of the apple trees!
    Mossy trunks all gnarled and hoary,
    Grey boughs tipped with rose-veined glory,
    Clustered petals soft as fleece
    Garlanding old apple trees!

    How you gleam at break of day!
    When the coy sun, glancing rarely,
    Pouts and sparkles in the pearly
    Pendulous dewdrops, twinkling gay
    On each dancing leaf and spray.

    Through your latticed boughs on high,
    Framed in rosy wreaths, one catches
    Brief kaleidoscopic snatches
    Of deep lapis-lazuli
    In the April-coloured sky.

    When the sundown's dying brand
    Leaves your beauty to the tender
    Magic spells of moonlight splendour,
    Glimmering clouds of bloom you stand,
    Turning earth to fairyland.

    Cease, wild winds, O, cease to blow!
    Apple-blossom, fluttering, flying,
    Palely on the green turf lying,
    Vanishing like winter snow;
    Swift as joy to come and go.

  62. Apple-Trees

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    My childhood held a fairy sight—
    A thousand apple-trees,
    All pink and white for my delight
    And humming with the bees.

    They grew upon a green hillside,
    They sweetened all the air,
    They spread a tent of blossoms wide
    For my pavilion there.

    I broke the branches at my will,
    There was so vast a store;
    From out my arms the sprays would spill,
    But there were always more.

    *****

    Now I go out from city ways
    To see the apple-tree,
    For if I miss her flowering days
    The year goes ill with me.

  63. An Apple Gathering

    by Christina Rossetti

    I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree,
    And wore them all that evening in my hair:
    Then in due season when I went to see
    I found no apples there.

    With dangling basket all along the grass
    As I had come I went the selfsame track:
    My neighbors mocked me while they saw me pass
    So empty-handed back.

    Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
    Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
    Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
    Their mother's home was near.

    Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
    A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
    A voice talked with her through the shadows cool
    More sweet to me than song.

    Ah, Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
    Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
    I counted rosiest apples on the earth
    Of far less worth than love.

    So once it was with me you stooped to talk
    Laughing and listening in this very lane:
    To think that by this way we used to walk
    We shall not walk again!

    I let my neighbors pass me, ones and twos
    And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
    And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
    Fell fast I loitered still.

  64. Cherry Tree Poems

  65. 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.

  66. 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.