Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A house as lovely as a tree?

My neighborhood lost another stately oak tree today in the rush to tear down small, old houses and build big, new houses. 

Seeing the stump of the tree reminded me of a poem I love, one which you may think is trite and overused. But I'd like to share it with you anyway:

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.

A confession: My own hands aren't completely clean in the matter of tear downs, as I live in a fairly new house that stands on a lot where a teeny old house once stood. My husband bought our house well after it was built. And so I'm more wistful than morally outraged about another tree down. The people making the decision to cut the tree will be my neighbors soon, and the Bible tells us we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

So, there you have it. An uncomfortable dichotomy in my life. And yet, I can say with confidence that:

I know that I shall never see 
A house as lovely as a tree.
Houses are built by fools like me,
But only God can build a tree.

Have an opinion about the loss of trees, perhaps in your own neighborhood or town? Or want to share your own favorite poem about trees? Let's hear it.


  1. on the other hand, our "new" elm tree is doing quite nicely

  2. Thanks, Chris! Maybe we should sprinkle elm seeds throughout the neighborhood? Or start cultivating them into baby elms and give them as house-warming gifts?