Poetry Sunday: The Sound of the Trees by Robert Frost

I spent the last week reading Richard Powers' wonderful book, The Overstory, and thinking a lot about trees.

There is something about trees that seems to inspire poets. There are certainly plenty of poems about them and even more that employ the imagery of trees to make the poet's point about something. Robert Frost, in particular, seemed to have a special affinity for trees and wrote about them often. This is one of my favorites.

The Sound of the Trees

by Robert Frost1874 - 1963

I wonder about the trees.  
Why do we wish to bear  
Forever the noise of these  
More than another noise  
So close to our dwelling place? 
We suffer them by the day  
Till we lose all measure of pace,  
And fixity in our joys,  
And acquire a listening air.  
They are that that talks of going       
But never gets away;  
And that talks no less for knowing,  
As it grows wiser and older,  
That now it means to stay.  
My feet tug at the floor 
And my head sways to my shoulder  
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,  
From the window or the door.  
I shall set forth for somewhere,  
I shall make the reckless choice 
Some day when they are in voice  
And tossing so as to scare  
The white clouds over them on.  
I shall have less to say,  
But I shall be gone.


  1. I love trees. Where we live now I am surrounded. Thank you for the poem.

    1. Trees are our friends and allies. What's not to like?

  2. I'm not sure I got the meaning.

    1. In general, I think poetry means whatever it brings to the individual reader, so it may mean different things to different people, but here's what this one says to me: It's about the calming influence that the voices of trees have on us. Even though the trees are rooted, literally, they speak to us of traveling to exotic places and perhaps make us long to visit those places. But, in the end, we may find ourselves rooted just like the trees. Then again, it might mean something entirely different to another reader.

    2. That meaning makes sense to me alright. Thanks. ;-)


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