Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Trees


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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.

    What would you do if you were growing up one hundred years ago in New Jersey and your name were Joyce? You probably wouldn't think twice about it. Joyce is a pretty common name: unless you're a boy. Then you might find that there were some guys from the south side of New Brunswick who thought it was pretty funny. And then you would have two options: you could either become a fighter or you could become a poet.

    Fortunately for America, Joyce Kilmer decided to become both. He was a daring young fighter in World War I, killed in action defending his fellow soldiers. Before that he was a gentle poet.

   While serving on the staff of the new York Times , he wrote a small collection of poetry. No doubt it would have been far more extensivehad he not died at the age of 31.

    ...Maybe when Joyce looked at a tree he truly understood that what he saw could not have been eloved by a simple, undirected flow of nature. It was far too beautiful, far too wondrous, and far too harmonious with the rest of the world to have developed by accident. That is when he came to the realization from deep within him, that only G-d could make a tree.

   Now would he have thought of that if his name had been Irving?

From "The Jewish Theory of Everything" By Max Anteby. pgs. 61-63


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