Bringing the Text to Life
Joyce Kilmer, early 20th-century poet, wrote many poems before dying in action in France in July 1918, but he is remembered for only one: “Trees.”
It begins, “I think that I shall never see/ a poem as lovely as a tree ...” And it concludes, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”
Ogden Nash, the 20th-century iconoclast who produced 19 volumes of poetry and wrote for many years for The New Yorker, wrote the following words about 35 years after Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see/ a billboard lovely as a tree/ Indeed, unless the billboards fall,/ I’ll never see a tree at all.”
This quatrain sums up the crisis of the modern urban ecosystem: How does one live a stress-free life amid urban sprawl, crowding and congestion, gridlock and noise, smog and pollution, poverty and despair — and boom cars with turbo-charged sub-woofers stashed in the trunk that thump in the traffic, inflicting tinnitus on a captive audience?
It’s so bad that some subscribe to the “breeder”...