Poetry Friday: E.E. Cummings’ “little tree”

h1 December 21st, 2007 by jules

This week, I’m sharing E.E. Cummings’ holiday poem, “little tree.” Here’s the beginning:

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid

And you can read the rest here. The spacing is a little off here; there should be a significant amount of space after “see,” but WordPress won’t let me do that. (And the above link to the entire poem disregards those spaces, too, but if you’re super interested, just go get E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962, and take a gander there. Great book).

This poem was originally published in Cummings’ Tulips & Chimneys, his first published work in 1923 (first one after The Enormous Room).

I’ve read about and seen different picture book adaptations of this poem, including Deborah Kogan Ray’s lovely, gentle version from 1987 (pictured here — I couldn’t find an image any larger). But I had no idea that Chris Raschka illustrated one in 2001 (published by Hyperion and pictured above). I’ll have to go find this one, since I’d love to see Raschka’s contemporary take on the poem.

Happy holidays to all!

MORNING ADDENDUM: Wow. Do you want to read a really powerful poem that Elaine Magliaro shared at the Blue Rose Girls’ site? Check it out.





13 comments to “Poetry Friday: E.E. Cummings’ “little tree””

  1. I may have to read this poem to my tree today.


  2. I love this poem, cummings in general. I’m always sad to take a Christmas tree down; even sadder to see all the discarded trees by the curbside, waiting for garbage pick-up. They have only short moments of glory and adoration, it seems.


  3. My town picks up the trees and makes them into mulch you can pick up for free in the spring, which is amazingly cool considering we’re a bit of a lower-middle-class suburb.


  4. I’m not sure if it’ll work here but in blogger adding a few of these in succession usually allows you to add space within a line “ ” It’s a very comforting poem isn’t it?


  5. Ooops, it edited out the code- I guess it recognized it as code. Anyway it’s ampersand-n-b-s-b-semicolon (without the dashes).


  6. I hadn’t seen this poem before…thanks for sharing. It’s lovely.


  7. There are a few editions of this with delicate textured or thin slip covers that rip when people looked at them (or, more accurately, throw them around) and that treatment always upset me! We’d return/damage-out more than we sold.


  8. [...] Poetry Friday: E.E. Cummings?? ???little tree??? [...]


  9. and what do you think about energetic problem in Ukraine?


  10. Where I may to find posts on this topic?


  11. Nice! I’ll do similar post in my bkog


  12. what a real story..


  13. [...] Communing with nature on the night before Christmas, Charley’s memories of Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea. The sea said, see i will comfort you. [...]


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