Thursday, April 28, 2016

npm pmmu #29: the ways we tree

Today's Poetry-Music Match-Up comes to us from Laura Purdie Salas.  She's sharing a classic poem that I think of each time I pass a certain Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike...

 Trees | 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.

For those who don't know, Joyce was a man, and this poem was published in 1914, four years before he enlisted in WWI and was killed at the Battle of Ourcq.  I recall reading it in 2nd or 3rd grade and enjoying the "leafy arms" and "intimately living with with rain" but being completely distracted by the flowing breast and the snowy bosom.  But let not my childish frissons distract you from this poem's expression of the nobility of trees.

Laura says, "I adore [this] song and the whole love/tree analogy," and I do too.
                                                                      "The Way I Feel," by Gordon Lightfoot, 1967

"The way I feel is like a robin
Whose babes have flown to come no more
Like a tall oak tree alone and cryin'
When the birds have flown and the nest is bare"


"Your coat of green, it will protect her
Her wings will grow, your love will too"

Lovely! Thank you, Laura--that's a song I've never heard before, but it will certainly stay with me.  I still have one day of Poetry-Music Match-Ups unclaimed, if anyone would like to send me their ideas.. just email using the link on the right, and I'll be delighted to close out April 2016 on your notes!

The Round-Up today is with  Buffy at Buffy's Blog, and don't miss Line 28 of this year's Progressive Poem--scroll down to yesterday's post!


  1. Gorgeous match-up - thanks, Ladies! (I've always been a Gordon Lightfoot fan.)
    I have a tree-centric post today, too! :0)

  2. Oh! I remember that poem from my childhood but didn't know that about the poet. And a beautiful song I'd not hear before. Thanks for the lovely pairing.

  3. Thanks for sharing the matchup today. Great pair!

  4. Thanks, Heidi! Gordon Lightfoot's lyrics are pure poetry, so it kind of feels like cheating to match them with a poem, but happy to spread the word. This is one of my favorites of his. And hehe on the distractions in Kilmer's poem!

  5. Wonderful together, Heidi. I know that Gordon Lightfoot song mostly because my husband loved his work & we listened to him a lot.

  6. The perfect combination - and so lovely to hear Gordon Lightfoot again.

  7. I always thought Joyce Kilmer was a woman! That bosom line feels completely different now. Perfect combination with this terrific Gordon Lightfoot song (I had not heard it in years...what a pleasure to play again.)

  8. Thanks for this match up and the story of Joyce Kilmer. Who knew!

  9. A beautiful pairing, Heidi! Thanks to you and Laura for sharing!

  10. "Trees" is one of the first poems I remember from childhood, and for many years, I thought Kilmer was a woman. I also like G. Lightfoot, but the video seems to be blocked. Thanks for a month of great pairings!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!