Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hear The Music Of The Pines

Poem by Timothy Thomas Fortune


Pine trees

Hear The Music Of The Pines

Hear the music of the pines­
Murmuring through the climbing vines,
Sighing through the tree tops high,
Floating upward to the sky,
Then descending where I lie­
Hear the music of the pines!


What sweet thoughts the music brings,
What new gladness from it springs­
As reclining, in a dream,
Watch I, listless, a sunbeam
Dancing on the silvery stream­
What sweet thoughts the music brings!


Hear the music of the pines!
How it 'round my fancy twines­
While fragrances of flowers fill
All the pulses of my will
As I, lingering, linger still­
Hear the music of the pines!


by Timothy Thomas Fortune (1856-1928).



Born into slavery in Florida, Timothy Thomas Fortune was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. He became an influential journalist and editor, associated with some of the leading black publications of the day. I suspect this poem is a remembrance of native pine trees in Florida. His mention of "the climbing vines" seems to suggest the exuberant plant growth of a warm climate.

The pine trees in the above photo grow on the grounds of the Breathitt Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Hopkinsville, KY. I didn't examine them closely, but they are probably Eastern white pines (Pinus strobus). These two and their fellow pines around the property boundaries were probably planted in the 1970s around the time that the lab was built.

6 comments -- please add yours:

J Milton said...

Welcome back to posting! Enjoyed the poem.

KennethF said...

Hey G: I just came in from watering... my pines! We have five on the left and three on the right of our big patio. They curve around like two arms to give us shielding from the stronger winds. Our property extends above the general height of the surrounding area so this means alot! My birds are attracted to them for protection as well.
On little walks through the woods__ I always steer for a pine group because each cluster has it's own sacrid daytime surprise. Owl's of WPA seem to like these exclusive needley and extra quiet roosts?
On another note: I regret not being able to get a local recipe your way... I did try!
later, ~(:-_))-kfh

Genevieve said...

Hi, Jesse. I hope to resume posting here at least occasionally, when time permits. I'm hoping that my life will settle down a little as the summer progresses. Thanks for your note of encouragement. :)

Genevieve said...

Hi, Kenneth. Thanks for stopping in. That's an interesting thought about the owls. I will have to do some research about what sorts of trees are their favorites.

Jesse Milton said...

Our barred owls have favored the 60+ foot deciduous trees; particularly a tall broken maple with a cavity. Unfortunately for us, the crows and bluejays may have rooted the owls from our back woods. :(

Eastcoastdweller said...

The music is one thing, but I also love the perfume of the pines --- that distinctive fragrance when the summer sun warms their needles.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com