Fernleaf Maple

Scarlet Oak

Crape Myrtle "Catawba"

Kousa Dogwood

Japanese Stripped-bark Maple

Dogwood "Autumn"

Black Gum

Crape Myrtle

Bald Cypress

Dogwood "Cherokee Sunset"

Magnolia "Dearing"

Cryptomeria

Japanese Crape Myrtle

Eastern Red Cedar

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Sparkleberry

Golden Larch

Carolina Silver Bell

Japanese Tree Lilac

September Beauty

River Birch

Red Maple

Smoke Tree

Serviceberry "Prince William"

Chinese Pistachio

Dawn Redwood

Dogwood "Variegata"

Tree Poems

The following poems and prayers help exprees our admiration and appreciation for trees. Perhaps you have a poem you have written or you know a poem we should add, you can send it by email: treesofstrength@ncsu.edu.


Prayer of the Woods

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on.
I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty. 'Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: Harm me not.
(This prayer has been used in the Portuguese forest preservations for more than 1,000 years.)

Though much is taken, much abides....
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.--
Alfred Lord Tennyson -- Ulysses

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.-
Osho

DIALOGUE OF A MAN AND A TREE
The Man: Why do you grow so tall, way up there in the sky?

The Tree: I love the heights that are clean and free, where the lonely eagles fly, where the crane and the hawk can nest with me, and my friends, the geese, go by.

The Man: What do you use for food, tree to make you grow and grow?

The Tree: I live on a diet of Nature's best from my roots deep down below; I never go hungry, I rest and rest and wait for the rain and the snow.

The Man: How do you grow so strong, Tree, sturdy and straight and true?

The Tree: I live in the light of the sunshine and yarn for the sky's deep blue; the clean, sweet air is always mine, and the cold winds help me too.

The Man: How do you live so long, Tree, so much longer than man?

The Tree: I've geared my days with the Creator's ways since ever the world began. There is no death when life keeps faith with nature's wonderful plan.--

Vincent Godfrey Burns, Poet Laureate of Maryland, 1965

I LOVE A TREE
When I pass to my reward.
Whatever that may be,
I'd like my friends to think of me
As one who loved a tree.

I may not have a statesman's poise
Nor thrill a throng with speech
But I may benefit mankind
If I set out a beech.

If I transport a sapling oak
To rear its mighty head
Twill make for them a childhood shrine,
That will not soon decay.

Of if I plant a tree with fruit,
On which the birds may feed,
Then I have fostered feathered friends
And that's a worthy deed.

For winter when the days grow short
And spirits may run low
I'd plant a pine upon the scape
T'would lend a cheery glow.

I'd like a tree to mark the spot
Where I am laid to rest
For that would be the epitaph
That I would like the best.

Tho it's not carved upon a stone
For those who come to see
But friends would know that resting there
Is he, who loved a tree
-- Samuel N. Baxter

My heart is glad, my heart is high
With sudden ecstacy!
I have given back, before I die,
Some thanks for every lovely tree
That dead men grew for me.
- V. H. Friedlaendeer

PLANTING A TREE
What does he plant who plants a tree?
A scion full of potency,
He plants his faith, a prophecy
Of bloom, and fruitfulness to be;
He plans a shade where robins sing,
Where orioles their nestlings swing;
A burning bush - a miracle!
Who plants a tree, - he doeth well!

What does he plant who plants a tree?
An emblem of the men to be;
Who lightly tough terrestrial clay,
But far above the earth, away
From sordid things and base,
Incarnate ideals for their race­
Who plants a tree, he doeth well,--
Performs with God, a miracle!
­Author Unknown

What does he plant who plants a tree
He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,
In love of home and loyalty,
And far-cast thought of civic good
His blessing on the neighborhood.
­Charles Lathrop Pack

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
- Joyce Kilmer, Trees

TREES
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
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 blossom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems were made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.
­Joyce Kilmer

THE CLASS TREE
Grow thou and flourish well,
Ever the story tell of this glad day;
Long may thy branches raise
To heaven our grateful praise;
Waft then on sunlight rays
To God away.

Deep in the earth today,
Safely the roots we lay,
Tree of our love;
Grow thou and flourish long!
Every our grateful song
Shall its glad notes prolong
To God above.

Let music swell the breeze
And ring from all the trees
On this glad day,
Bless thou each student band
O'er all our happy land;
Teach them Thy love's command
Great God, we pray.
- Emma S. Thomas

TREES OF THE FRAGRANT FOREST
Trees of the fragrant forest,
With leaves of green unfurled,
Through summer's heat, through winter's cold,
What do you do for our world?

Our green leaves catch the raindrops
That fall with soothing sound.
Then drop them slowly, slowly down,
Tis better for the ground.

When, rushing down the hillside,
A mighty fresher foams,
Our giants trunks and spreading roots
Defend your happy homes.

From burning heat in summer
We offer cool retreat,
Protect the land in winter storm
From cold, and wind and sleet.

Our falling leaves in autumn
By breezes turned and tossed,
Will rake a deep sponge-carpet warm,
Which saves the ground from frost.

We give you pulp for paper,
Our fuel gives you heat;
We furnish lumber for your homes,
And nuts and fruit to eat.

With strong and graceful outline,
With branches green and bare,
We fill the land through all the year,
With beauty everywhere.

So Listen! From the forest
Each one a message sends
To children this Arbor Day;
"We trees are your best friends!"

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants the friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard -
The treble of heaven's harmony
These things he plants who plants a tree.
- Henry Cuyler Bunner, The Heart of the Tree

To early man, trees were objects of awe and wonder.
The mystery of their growth, the movement of their leaves
and branches, the way they seemed to die and come again
to life in spring, the sudden growth of the plant from the
seed - all these appeared to be miracles as indeed
they still are, miracles of nature!
- Ruskin Bond, The World of Trees

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust-
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows-
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. --
Robert Frost

The Sound of the Trees
I WONDER about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone.--
Robert Frost

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep. --
Robert Frost

Growth of a Tree
I'm a little maple, oh so small,
In years ahead, I'll grow so tall!
With a lot of water, sun, and air,
I will soon be way up there!

Deep inside the soil my roots are found,
Drinking the water underground.
Water from the roots my trunk receives,
Then my trunk starts making leaves.

As I start to climb in altitude,
Leaves on my branches will make food.
Soon my trunk and branches will grow wide,
And I'll grow more bark outside!

I will be a maple very tall,
Losing my leaves when it is fall.
But when it is spring, new leaves will show.
How do trees grow? Now you know!---
Meish Goldish

Trees
Trees just stand around all day
and sun themselves and rest.

They never walk or run away
and surely that is best.

For otherwise how would a
squirrel or robin find its nest? ----
Aileen Fisher


Open House
If I were a tree
I'd want to see
a bird with a song
on a branch of me.

I'd want a quick
little squirrel to run
up and down
and around, for fun.

I'd want the cub
of a bear to call,
and a porcupine, big,
and a tree toad, small.

I'd want a katydid
out of sight
on one of my leaves
to sing at night.

And down by my roots
I'd want a mouse
with six little mouselings
in her house.--
Aileen Fisher

Our Tree
When spring comes round, our apple tree
Is very full of flowers,
And when a bird sits on a branch
The petals fall in showers.

When summer comes, our apples tree
Is very full of green,
And everywhere you look in it
There is a leafy screen.

When autumn comes, our apple tree
Is full of things to eat.
The apples hang from every branch
To tumble at our feet.

When winter comes, our apple tree
Is full of snow and ice
And rabbits come to visit it . . .
We think our tree is nice.---
Marchette Chute

Much can they praise the trees so straight and high,
The sailing pine,the cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop elm, the poplar never dry,
The builder oak, sole king of forests all,
The aspin good for staves, the cypress funeral,
The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
And poets sage, the fir that weepiest still,
The yew obedient to the bender's will,
The birch for shafts, the sallow for the mill,
The myrrh sweet-bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike beech, the ash for nothing ill,
The fruitful olive, and the platane round,
The carver holm, the maple seldom inward sound.
- Edmund Spenser, Faerie Queene

Windy Tree
Think of the muscles
a tall tree grows
in its leg, in its foot,
in its wide-spread toes -
not to tip over
and fall on its nose
when a wild wind hustles
and tussels and blows.---
Aileen Fisher

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
- Ogden Nash, Song of the Open Road, 1933

Let the trees be consulted before you take any action
every time you breathe in thank a tree
let tree roots crack parking lots at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chain saws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees give police and criminals a shovel
and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods
walk don't drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree and tell stories.
- John Wright

Give me a land of boughs in leaf,
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land."
- A.E. Housman