Go Plant a Tree

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by 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.

from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)

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