When I was in grade school we were expected to memorize the poem Trees, by Joyce Kilmer. It was during 4th grade, I think. I sat at my desk reading the words over and over. Then I would close my eyes and try to recall one sentence at a time, peeking down at my paper each time I needed a prompt. Silently starting at the beginning of the poem again each time I had mastered a new line. Closing my eyes over and over and mouthing the words silently until I had memorized the entire poem.
In 4th grade, when I was 9-10, the emotion behind these words were lost on me. The poem was strictly an assignment. A task that I needed to work through until complete. When I was finished, we moved on to a different assignment.
Today, the words and the meaning behind the words are not lost on me. Especially at this time of year. In autumn when the trees are so full of beauty and rich color, the words to this poem wash over you and fill you with a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for all of God’s wonderful gifts to us. I’m so grateful for the beauty of autumn and for the sense of renewal that goes hand in hand with this beautiful season.
The trees seem to be at their peak color in the Midwest right now. My favorite season. Fall. It’s like floating over a carpet of bursting, vibrant colors every time you walk out your front door.
I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the sweet earth’s 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.
– Joyce Kilmer (1856-1918)