A poem from childhood came to mind today. It was written more than a hundred years ago by a poet named Joyce Kilmer. He was a multi-talented writer but is mainly known for the poem pictured below. The poem was set to music and when I think of this particular poem, I mostly think of it being sung (rather than recited). In the spirit of this poem’s age, I’m including a weblink of the song recorded by Paul Robeson and played on an old scratchy record. Some songs are meant to be heard via the imperfect quality of a phonograph needle.
The simplicity of Kilmer’s poem has through the years invited its share of criticism and condescension. The religious sentiment of the poem has also drawn a multitude of detractors and even parodies and spoofs. Personally, I’ve always appreciated the poem’s sentiments as well as its simplicity.