Famous Inspirational Poem

Douglas Malloch (1877-1938), known as the "Lumbermen's Poet," compares good men to good timber in this famous metaphorical poem. The message of this poem is that people, like trees, grow and reach their true potential by overcoming adversity. It is only through struggles, like a tree fighting through forest growth to reach the sun, that we grow and discover our true potential. Malloch lived in Michigan where he grew up amongst logging camps and lumber yards. He wrote his first published poem when he was still a boy; it was published in the Detroit News.

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Poetry is a passionate way of expressing our innermost thoughts, emotions, spirit, and love, amongst other things. As I read this poem, I thought of a very humble gentleman who lost his...

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Famous Poem

Good Timber

By more Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
     For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
     And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
     But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
     To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
     Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
     But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease,
     The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
     The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
     In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth
     We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
     Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
     This is the common law of life.


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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • CL by CL
  • 1 year ago

Our son memorized this poem for an annual gathering of friends where they all recite it. Today we heard his five-year-old son say it almost perfectly from memory, with his father's phrasing and intonation: it was unforgettable.

  • Josefina Eyveth Romero by Josefina Eyveth Romero
  • 2 years ago

Poetry is a passionate way of expressing our innermost thoughts, emotions, spirit, and love, amongst other things. As I read this poem, I thought of a very humble gentleman who lost his beloved wife to cancer. It made me envision him as the tree where good timber grows. Men like him are hard to find and indeed, like good timber, have withstood the test in the most difficult of life circumstances. He shares his story of loving her to the very end and so is the tree that loves the good earth to be able to produce good timber.

  • Judy Mitchel by Judy Mitchel
  • 3 years ago

My husband was a logger most of his younger life, then a lumber man, selling lumber for the last. He passed on Christmas 2019. He was also a poet. He would have loved this.

  • Nora by Nora
  • 3 years ago

My brother, Mando, died of liver cancer on May 15, 2020. This poem is an accurate description of his character.

  • Rachel by Rachel
  • 3 years ago

My father, John, died of Covid on April 23, 2020. He will be buried on May 12. This poem will be read at his graveside.

  • Connie Dye by Connie Dye
  • 4 years ago

In life we are given trials. We can either be stricken down by them or strong and grow because of them. If we look to our Savior and KNOW that He knows us and He has felt all of the trials in our lives, we can lean on Him and trust Him. He will help us grow.

  • Kumari Weerasooriya by Kumari Weerasooriya
  • 4 years ago

This is a poem that addresses the law of nature. No one can go against it. The poet has used metaphorical language to depict the similarities between man and other creations of nature. Nature is the supreme power which decides man's destiny.

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