Poems About Trees (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

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A unique anthology of poems--from around the world and through the ages--that celebrate trees. 

For thousands of years humans have variously worshipped trees, made use of them, admired them, and destroyed them--and poets have long chronicled the relationship. Poets from Homer and Virgil to Wordsworth, Whitman, and Thoreau, from Su Tung P'o and Basho to Czeslaw Milosz and W. S. Merwin have celebrated sacred groves, wild woodlands, and bountiful orchards, and the results include some of our most beloved poems.

Robert Frost's "Birches," Marianne Moore's "The Camperdown Elm," Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Binsey Poplars," and Zbigniew Herbert's "Sequoia" stand tall beside Eugenio Montale's "The Lemon Trees," Yves Bonnefoy's "The Apples," Bertolt Brecht's "The Plum Tree," D. H. Lawrence's "The Almond Tree," and A. E. Housman's "Loveliest of Trees." Whether showing their subjects being planted or felled, cherished or lamented, towering in forests or flowering in backyards, the poems collected here pay lyrical tribute to these majestic beings with whom we share the earth.

Table of Contents:

Preface by Stanley Plumly
Introduction by Harry Thomas

Homer, from The Odyssey
William Wordsworth, Nutting
Edward Thomas, The Ash Grove
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ash-Boughs
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Woods, A Prose Sonnet
Henry David Thoreau, from Journal, December 20, 1851
Walt Whitman, Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone
James Dickey, Trees and Cattle
Yves Bonnefoy, Lightning
Judith Wright, Train Journey
Les Murray, Flowering Eucalypt in Autumn
Stanley Plumly, White Oaks Ascending


Toward an Alphabet of Trees
D. H. Lawrence, Letter from Town: The Almond Tree
Yves Bonnefoy, The Apples
Edward Thomas, The Aspens
A. E. Housman, Loveliest of Trees
Basho, "From all these trees"
Richard Eberhart, The Horse Chestnut Tree
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Coco-de-Mer
Antonio Machado, To a Dried-up Elm
Les Murray, Eucalyptus in Exile
Gail Perez, The Fig Tree
Howard Nemerov, Ginkgoes in Fall
Eugenio Montale, The Lemon Trees
John Clare, The Maple Tree
Walt Whitman, I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing
Shu Ting, To the Oak
Lorentzos Mavilis, The Olive Tree
Geoffrey Brock, The Royal Palms of South Florida
Su Tung P'o, The Purple Peach Tree
H. D., Pear Tree
James Galvin, Limber Pines
Bertolt Brecht, The Plum-Tree
Odysseus Elytis, The Mad Pomegranate Tree
Louis Simpson, The Redwoods
W. C. Williams, Young Sycamore
William Stafford, The Tulip Tree
Denise Levertov, The Willows of Massachusetts
William Wordsworth, Yew Trees


Planting and Preserving
Virgil, from The Georgics
Thomas Hardy, The Pine Planters
Giorgio Bassani, The Racial Laws
Marianne Moore, The Camperdown Elm
Mary Oliver, The Black Walnut Tree
Ellen Bryant Voigt, Landscape, Dense with Trees
Patrick Kavanagh, Beech Tree
Seamus Heaney, Planting the Alder
Dana Gioia, Planting a Sequoia
Jean Giono, from The Man Who Planted Trees


Grove, Woods, Orchard, Forest
Homer, from The Odyssey
Seamus Heaney, The Birch Grove
Buson, "Not a leaf stirring"
James Wright, A Small Grove in Torre del Banco
Robert Graves, Not Dead
Paul Valery, The Friendly Wood
W. H. Auden, Woods
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Apple Orchard
H. D., Orchard
William Carlos Williams, Wild Orchard
Richard Wilbur, Young Orchard
Robert Frost, After Apple-Picking
Yehuda Amichai, Orchard
Edward Thomas, The Green Roads
Yves Bonnefoy, Hopkins Forest
Les Murray, The Gum Forest
Robert Frost, Spring Pools

From Trees
Walt Whitman, Orange Buds by Mail from Florida
Thomas Hardy, Logs on the Hearth
William Cullen Bryant, Tree-Burial
Robert Frost, An Encounter
Robert Frost, The Wood-Pile
William Carlos Williams, Burning the Christmas Greens
James Dickey, In the Tree House at Night
Seamus Heaney, In the Beech
George MacBeth, To Preserve Figs
John Haines, The Tree That Became a House
Gary Snyder, Pine Needles
Stanley Plumly, The Tree
Jorie Graham, Tree Surgeons


Gladness Gone
From the Book of Joel 1:11-12
William Cowper, The Poplar-Field
Thomas Hardy, Throwing a Tree
Henry David Thoreau, from Journal, December 30, 1851
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Binsey Poplars
Ciaran Carson, At Binsey
Vasko Popa, The Poplar and the Passer-by
Charlotte Mew, The Trees Are Down
Seamus Heaney, Clearances, VIII
John Clare, To a Fallen Elm
C. K. Williams, Elms
Stanley Plumly, Panegyric for the Plane Tree Fallen on Fifth Avenue
Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Fallen Chestnut
Anonymous, Lament for the Woodlands
Louise Erdrich, I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move
Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, "Still pressing through these weeping solitudes"
Stanley Kunitz, The War Against the Trees
John Bight, Mangroves
Nancy Willard, When There Were Trees
Gary Snyder, "The groves are down"

Lyrics, Meditations
D. H. Lawrence, Trees in the Garden
Robert Frost, Birches
Judith Wright, The Cedars
Alan Dugan, On Trees
John Ashbery, Some Trees
Robert Frost, Tree at My Window
Jules Supervielle, Suppose No Tree Stood Near My Window
Paul Zimmer, Winter Trees
Czeslaw Milosz, Into the Tree
D. H. Lawrence, Under the Oak
Lee Gerlach, Ghazal
Marvin Bell, These Green-Going-to-Yellow
James Merrill, Christmas Tree
Howard Nemerov, Leaving the Trees
W. D. Snodgrass, An Elm Tree
Michael Collier, My Father as a Maple Tree
William Meredith, Tree Marriage
Gerald Stern, The Cemetery of Orange Trees in Crete
Denise Levertov, In California during the Gulf War
Vladimir Souloukhin, Willow
Zbigniew Herbert, Sequoia
Jim Powell, Sempervirens in Winter
Philip Larkin, The Trees
James Wright, To a Blossoming Pear Tree
William Carlos Williams, The Widow's Lament in Springtime
David Ferry, Everybody's Tree


HARRY THOMAS is the editor of Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Penguin, 1993) and Montale in English (Penguin, 2002). His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines. He is editor in chief of Handsel Books, an imprint of Other Press and an affiliate of W. W. Norton.

Everyman's Library

Pub Date: October 01, 2019

0.8" H x 6.2" L x 4.4" W

256 pages