Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FRIENDLY TREES, by HENRY VAN DYKE



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FRIENDLY TREES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I will sing of the bounty of the big trees
Last Line: That this dust may rise and rejoice among the branches.
Alternate Author Name(s): Civis Americanus
Subject(s): Trees


I WILL sing of the bounty of the big trees,
They are the green tents of the Almighty,
He hath set them up for comfort and for shelter.

Their cords hath he knotted in the earth,
He hath driven their stakes securely,
Their roots take hold of the rocks like iron.

He sendeth into their bodies the sap of life,
They lift themselves lightly toward the heavens.
They rejoice in the broadening of their branches.

Their leaves drink in the sunlight and the air,
They talk softly together when the breeze bloweth,
Their shadow in the noon-day is full of coolness.

The tall palm-trees of the plain are rich in fruit,
While the fruit ripeneth the flower unfoldeth,
The beauty of their crown is renewed on high for ever.

The cedars of Lebanon are fed by the snow,
Afar on the mountain they grow like giants,
In their layers of shade a thousand years are sighing.

How fair are the trees that befriend the home of man,
The oak, and the terebinth, and the sycamore,
The broad-leaved fig-tree and the delicate silvery olive.

In them the Lord is loving to his little birds,
The linnets and the finches and the nightingales,
They people his pavilions with nests and with music.

The cattle also are very glad of a great tree,
They chew the cud beneath it while the sun is burning,
And there the panting sheep lie down around their shepherd.

He that planteth a tree is a servant of God,
He provideth a kindness for many generations,
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.

Lord, when my spirit shall return to thee,
At the foot of a friendly tree let my body be buried,
That this dust may rise and rejoice among the branches.





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