Monday, 9 April 2012

The Grandeur of Trees

During the winter storms two more of our precious trees blew down and another had to be felled for safety. An ash seedling had taken root in the fork of the trunk which had also begun to rot. More than a hundred years to grow and and in less than an hour it lay on the ground. If only trees could talk what wonderful tales they would be able to tell.

Fortunately we planted three copper beeches for our three children when we moved here in 1970 . They were slender saplings then and even after forty years I can span their trunks easily with my arms. It will take another hundred years before they are as big as the ones we have lost. How insignificant our own lives are in comparison. More recently we have planted an oak tree and a white birch, both with special memories. Through time they will help to replace the trees lost in the large farm garden but it saddens me to think no more children will have the joy of collecting conkers from the horse chestnut tree as my children did, nor will they gather beech mast in the autumn.
Many of you will be familiar with the poem below, and even better if you have heard it sung in the rich deep voice of Richard Tauber.

Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
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.



  1. What a beautiful poem, Gwen, and I love your photos. I agree that trees are magnificent and I'm sorry you lost some in those storms. We had a wonderful walk through a local estate's woods a couple of weeks ago and I felt the awe of being among such ancient trees.

  2. Thank you for your comment Rosemary and for being able to share my appreciation of something which cannot talk in words. Sometimes I think people can be so distracted with unattainable pleasures they do not see the lovely things which are free.