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.
I love the poem for the stark simplicity with which the poet deals with the tree.It is interesting to see the handiwork of a poet compared with God’s.This one does not have any illusion about his own capabilities for creating and admits the foolishness of a poet who thinks he can make things the way God does.No poem can be a work as lovely as a tree.
A comparison of an abstract thing like a poem with a concrete thing, a living one at that -isnt it a little daft? Seems so but not exactly .A tree is a product of design just like a poem. A poem can be lovely but not as a single unique idea. Not a tree whch is Plato’s Idea of a thing of which each individual tree is a copy. All art is a copy of the Idea , which is a unique identity.And each artifice is a copy of an Idea, twice removed from reality and has therefore to be imperfect. The artist can paint a tree ,not make it .The poet can make a poem which is itself a beautiful experience derived from an Idea copied from God’s original.
Within the grand image of a poem compared with a tree are several other beautiful metaphors to describe the traits of a tree. First , tree is a child of the earth.Its hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet bosom, flowing with life sustaining liquid. The tree is then a praying one, with its leafy arms to the sky, thanking its Maker all day for its beautiful existence.Then , in summer it shall wear a beautiful flower in her hair, the Robbins nest that is so grand and so colorful.In winter there will be snow covering its bosom and in monsoon it shall live in an intimate relationship with rain.
The tree is an organic entity that can better be compared with another organic thing.That is why the tree is humanised in all stages of human life and growth. Thus the tree has a hungry mouth for the earth’s bosom like a human infant.It has eyes with which it looks at God all day and arms which it raises to pray to Him.In summer she wears her flowers of a robins’ ‘nest that make her so lovely to look at.A beautiful woman now she has her own bosom covered with snow and last ,she lives with rain in intimate relationship.
But such poems are made easily by fools like the poet .Only God can make trees.