Joyce Kilmer in her Poem “Trees” writes of the attributes of a tree, equating it to a
woman. A.E. Housman in her poem “Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now” writes of how
she enjoys the beauty of a blooming cherry tree. Does this perfunctory reading of these
poems provide the reader with a true meaning as to why they were written. Did Kilmer
and Housman write these poems only to tell us of what they see when they look at trees.

In “Trees” Joyce Kilmer gives us a view of what she thinks are the virtues of a
tree. This simple poem about trees Kilmer uses Personification to tell the reader of how a
tree spends its’ life. A perfect example of her use of personification is the line “A tree that
may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;” (Trees,ln.8) . In this example Kilmer
is telling us, simply, that a robin may make a nest in the bough of a tree. But, her use of
personification makes her poem, which simply describes a tree, feel like it is more then just
a observation of trees. Now this simple tree is seen as a woman who adorns herself with
some accessory, a robin’s nest, to make herself more beautiful. Kilmer’s continual
comparison of a tree to a woman makes the readers see the tree in the way Kilmer wanted
them to see the tree. In her opening lines for the poem Kilmer writes that she, ”... shall
nevere see a poem as lovely as a tree.” (Trees,ln.1). This comparison sets the tone for
the poem. The tone is one of joy and at the same time a bit of rivalry that a tree will
always be more beautiful than a poem.

Though A.E. Housman’s poem is named “Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now”
there is, unlike Kilmer’s “Trees”, very little description of trees. Unlike Kilmer’s poem,
Housman’s “Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now” is a very embellished and refined poem.
Housman’s use of caesuras to make the poem sound as if it were being spoken help to
establish this refined quality. This is evident in the opening lines, “Loveliest of trees, the
cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough,” (Loveliest of trees,ln.1). Housman’s
use of enjambents along with the use of cultured dialect add to the notion of a refined
tone. After the first stanza the poem shifts from describing the beauty Housman finds in a
cherry tree in bloom to Housman’s thoughts on growing old. This also adds to the poem’s
refined feel since the title implies that the poem will be about cherry trees. The third
Stanza goes on to show how Housman fears and resents the fact that she is mortal. She
only has, in her best estimate, about fifty years left to admire the beauty of the trees, and
this fact motivates her to go out and see the world.

Though the styles differ in both these poems they are similar in the fact that the
speaker in the poem is the author is the author of the poem, and that trees have some part
in the meaning of the poems. In Kilmer’s poem “Trees” the last lines are “Poems are
made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” (Trees,ln.11), these ending lines
help the reader to establish the true reason why Kilmer wrote the poem. This poem was
Kilmer’s way to familiarize the reader with the fact that all the endeavors of man can not
compare to the wonders created by God. This idea is strengthened when the reader
realizes that Kilmer in the opening lines to the poem is saying that her most accomplish
work of poetry will appear marred when compared to Gods work. Though this idea is not
as plainly presented as it is in “Trees” it is still present in “Loveliest of trees, The cherry
now”. Housman in the second and third stanzas of “Loveliest of trees, The cherry now”
starts to contemplate her mortality. Fearing that the beauty of the spring bloom will out
live her she decides to enjoy as much of it as possible as long as possible. Though This
poem does not mention God it can be inferred that the meaming of the poem is the same
as that of Kilmer’s. Simply put that the works of God out live and are more wonderful the
works of man, and even man himself.
Having considered both of the poems