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Go Plant a Tree
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


God, what a joy it is to plant a tree,
And from the sallow earth to watch it rise,
Lifting its emerald branches to the skies
In silent adoration; and to see
Its strength and glory waxing with each spring.
Yes, 'tis a goodly, and a gladsome thing
To plant a tree.

Nature has many marvels; but a tree
Seems more than marvellous. It is divine.
So generous, so tender, so benign.
Not garrulous like the rivers; and yet free
In pleasant converse with the winds and birds;
Oh! privilege beyond explaining words,
To plant a tree.

Rocks are majestic; but, unlike a tree,
They stand aloof, and silent. In the roar
Of ocean billows breaking on the shore
There sounds the voice of turmoil. But a tree
Speaks ever of companionship and rest.
Yea, of all righteous acts, this, this is best,
To plant a tree.

There is an oak (oh! how I love that tree)
Which has been thriving for a hundred years;
Each day I send my blessing through the spheres
To one who gave this triple boon to me,
Of growing beauty, singing birds, and shade.
Wouldst thou win laurels that shall never fade?
Go plant a tree.

This poem is in the public domain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was a popular and prolific poet. Published and lauded before she even graduated from high school, Ella preferred to write happy, upbeat poetry and was much beloved for it. More than a dozen of her poems are included in the book, Best Loved Poems of the American People (Doubleday, 2008). The familiar saying, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep alone. . ." comes from her best-known poem, "Solitude." A morally strong and spiritual person, Ella believed that her purpose on earth was to practice kindness and service. Read more about her here.


Post New Comment:
A perfect choice for Earth Day, and one I am adding to my collection of favorites. Thank you, Jayne!
Posted 08/14/2021 01:29 AM
I enjoy the personality and calming energy as she describes the TREE!
Posted 04/22/2021 11:11 AM
Jayne, a perfect selection for Earth Day. Solitude is one of my very favorite poems, so I shouldnt be surprised. Love the masterful way she ends this poem.
Posted 04/22/2021 09:53 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I love this poem. I appreciate the complicated structure of the rhyming, something I rarely try to accomplish, myself. She pulls it off beautifully. And then there is the subject matter. The more I learn about trees, the more I marvel at the miracle of their growth -- from soil, water, sunshine, and air. It's almost like creating something from nothing. And trees interact with what's going on around them, including each other. I've spent so many joyous days of my life in them, among them, watching them, marveling at their steadiness and their beauty. Further, I have planted many.
Posted 04/22/2021 08:44 AM
Larry Schug:
Do it!
Posted 04/22/2021 07:36 AM

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