This late great tree stood across the street from our house on St. Peter Street. We lost this blaze of fall color a couple years ago when the lot was cleared to make way for a new house.

The author and poet Joyce Kilmer was a friend of Father Charles O’Donnell, CSC of Notre Dame back in the early 1900s. He wrote a famous little poem about trees that has often been suspected of being inspired by a particular tree at the Grotto at Notre Dame. This has never been confirmed and it is probable that he simply had a beautiful power of observation and the poem is not about any one specific tree. In any event, this short poem is definitely worth memorizing. Then you can walk around and enjoy reciting it quietly to yourself whenever you see a beautiful tree – especially in the autumn beauty.

He was a friend of Fr. O’Donnell and a Grotto visitor. Who knows? 


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
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 bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer