Is there a better time than Spring to appreciate the beauty of nature, the nature of our souls, the soul of our world, and our world of love and beauty? Definitely not. Spring brings with it a fountain of poetry that drops us wordies to our knees.
[ poh-i-tree ]
the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
literary work in metrical form; verse.
prose with poetic qualities.
poetic qualities however manifested: the poetry of simple acts and things.
poetic spirit or feeling: The pianist played the prelude with poetry.
something suggestive of or likened to poetry: the pure poetry of a beautiful view on a clear day.
Poetry is infinitely specific, a glorious word puzzle to play and solve. The winner earns the lofty and triumphant prize of internal satisfaction by writing their most purposeful thoughts, using the fewest words possible. While the contest is formidable, there are no other rules. The judge is singularly the author, and the very best poets often celebrate alone.
How is it that Poetry often makes little sense on paper, but our souls understand it completely? Poetry can be intimidating to some, yet accessible to all who try it. Reading poems requires one to feel the written words — an idea that is not always instinctual.
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”– Robert Frost
In honor of National Poetry Month, please enjoy this sweet poem—”twelve rhyming couplets of tetrameter verse”—by Joyce Kilmer, written in 1913. We read and discussed this poem in class this morning in between ACT prep and Chemistry, proving there is always time for poetry.
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.
In Trees, I feel the incompetence of humankind to create anything so lovely as the easy and raw beauty achieved in nature. Really, is there any one thing that we can build or create to compete with the magnificence of God’s work? Even Renoir’s stunning landscape cannot make a beautiful tree come to life before our eyes.
Trees is short and relatable, and it rhymes — something that some people associate as a rule of poetry (it is not). Because poems don’t have to rhyme, and they don’t have to fit any specific mold. Poetry can use any vocabulary in any language in any order and can be about any topic or theme. Most memorable poetry will use words artistically and creatively by employing various methods of grammatical trickery and mind-bending order.
Kilmer’s poem can be found in this little book.
Joyce Kilmer was a famous American poet and journalist in the early 1900s. The Catholic writer, originally named Alfred, was killed by a sniper’s bullet over 100 years ago, on July 30, 1918, during World War I. Also, Joyce was not a woman. The name Joyce used to be a man’s name, as did Carol, Ashley, Vivian, Meredith, Lynn, and many others. For some reason, they eventually became more commonly known as names for women. I love this; also, poets are always full of surprises.
What poems will find you on a busy day this spring?
Trees by Joyce Kilmer (poem) was found at http://www.poetryfoundation.org
The definition of poetry is from http://www.dictionary.com
Roses and Renoir painting images by Lynne Rey
The cover image came from a Newport RI Instagram post
For teachers, see: https://poets.org/teach-poem
4 Comments Add yours
I’ve tried my hand at a few poems….not lately though!
Pat, I would love to read your poems! Please send some to me? xxoo
Lynne, First of all Thank you for your sweet Easter wishes card.I don’t know whether learning poetry by heart is still on the school schedule now days but when I was there a few centuries ago memorizing was considered essential . Trees was one of my assignments so it was fun and nostalgic for me to fill in the gaps while reading it now. Thank you for giving me this unexpected little present.Much love to all Niki
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Niki, how incredible! Tony and I are both beaming upon reading your note. We used to work on memorization when the kids were younger, but there is too much else to cover in High School now (ACT prep, for example). I can see why Trees would be a good one to memorize, though; plus… it’s lovely. You are a treasure to us- xoxo