Treasured Memories

A speaker at a recent seminar began by reading  (Alfred) Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees.”

“I think I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
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 the rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
but only God can make a tree.”
Joyce Kilmer, “Poetry, A Magazine of Verse” August 1913


I’m afraid I lost my train of thought after that. Images of growing up and sitting around the supper table flooded my mind. Usually, it was my dad who would start the poem, “I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.” My mother would add the next phrase, “A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed against the sweet earth’s flowing breast.”

Back and forth, the words would flow, until one of them ended the poem, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” It always brought smiles, and I’d guess a secret message between them of another time, when love was blossoming.  One that connected them to a moment  when love was fresh and new.  Words which  reminded them why they chose each other and the joy they still found together.

Whenever I see the poem, I think of the twinkle in my dad’s eyes and my mother’s answering smile.

“Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Solomon 8:7

6 thoughts on “Treasured Memories

  1. A wonderful memory and curiously enough, I am preaching tomorrow at a seaside chapel which wishes not to follow the lectionary and I am preaching on the Zaccheaus story from the perspective of the tree and theIsaiah “trees of the fields will clap their hands.”. I think your story may wander it’s way into that message.

    Liked by 1 person

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