Thursday, June 22, 2017

Harry Behn's Trees

Trees  - Harry Behn

Harry Behn (September 24, 1898 – September 6, 1973), also known as Giles Behn, was an American screenwriter and children's author.  Harry Behn was born in 1898 in McCabe, Arizona, which is now a ghost town, in Yavapai County in what was then the Arizona Territory. He was the son of Henry K. Behn, an immigrant from Germany, and Maren (or Marion) Christensen Behn, an immigrant from Denmark. 
At the age of 18, after he had been accepted as a student at Stanford University but before he went there, he met Henry Berger, a photographer affiliated with the Prizma Company, who hired Harry Behn as his assistant for the summer. The two of them went to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, where they were supposed to take a series of nature slides for Prizma. A family emergency took Henry Berger away for a month, and during this time Harry Behn stayed in Glacier National Park with all the photographic equipment, waiting for Berger to return. While Berger was gone, Harry Behn made friends with some young Blackfoot Indians whose reservation was in the park, and lived with them. He was invited to join the tribe, and underwent all the tests and rituals involved in becoming a Blackfoot, and received the name Big Wolf Medicine. For a while he was actually listed as a Blackfoot with the Indian Service, making him eligible for oil royalties being paid to the Blackfoot tribe, and he actually received a check, but he later convinced the Indian Service to give the money to the tribe. 

He received his education at Stanford University, which he attended in 1918, and Harvard University (S.B., 1922).
Trees are the kindest things I know,
they do not harm, they simply grow
and spread a shade for sleepy cows,
and gather birds among their bows.

They give us fruit in leaves above,
and wood to make our houses of,
and leaves to burn on Halloween
and in the Spring new buds of green.

They are first when day’s begun
to tough the beams of morning sun,
they are the last to hold the light
When evening changes into night.

And when a moon floats on the sky
They hum a drowsy lullby
of sleepy children long ago…
Trees are the kindest things I know.
Say whether these statements are true or false:-
1) Trees are unkind to human being . False
2) Trees offer shelter to birds. False
3) Birds sing a lullaby. False
4) Trees are kind because the sun is kind to them. True
5) Trees go to sleep before the sun set. False
6) Trees are first to welcome the sun. True

1)      How do the trees show kindness to animals and birds?
Ans: The trees show kindness to animals by providing shade and spread the boughs for birds.
2)    Where do the birds builds their nests?
Ans: The birds build their nests among the boughs (branches).
3)    Why do the trees look beautiful during both morning and evening?
Ans: The trees look beautiful during morning when the first beams of the sun fall on them, similarly in the evening the trees hold the last ray of the sun which is delicate and tender.
4)    What is a lullaby? Why is the hum of trees compared to a lullaby?
Ans: A lullaby is a song sung gently and softly to make a baby sleep. The hum of trees is compared to a lullaby as their gentle movements helps the world to sleep.
Q) How do trees behave like a kind person?
Ans: Trees are kindest things because they help birds, animals, man and environment selflessly. Trees do not mean any harm to anyone, they simply grow.
 Q) Quote complete praising trees
Ans: Couplets praising trees are – a) They do no harm, they simply grow And spread a shade for sleepy cows. b) And when a moon floats on the sky They hum a drowsy lullaby.
Q) Writes down the rhyming word:
Ans: know, grow / cows, boughs light, night / sky, lullaby.

This is a simple poem in four stanzas about trees and what they mean to the poet. The poem conveys the importance of trees to the world with the use of very simple images and the poem has a regular rhyme scheme. A regular rhyme scheme means that you can see a pattern in the last words of each line. In this poem you will notice that the poem is in couplets with the last two words of each couplet having similar sounding words (Know/Grow, Cows/boughs).
Trees, as you all know, are very important for the survival of this world. Trees not only add colour to the landscape but make survival possible for us and many other creatures. Today we see that trees are slowly disappearing from our cities, villages and jungles, which, perhaps, is leading to global warming and a possible threat to our very existence. Thus it is important to preserve our forests and, if possible, plant as many trees as possible. You would perhaps remember the lesson on tree planting in "Everyday English-I." The title of the lesson is "My Father's Trees in Dehra." It will be interesting to compare that lesson with this one and see if they sound similar or different.
The poem begins with the line "Trees are the kindest things I know." Trees are kind because, amongst other things, they harm no one. To be kind is to be gentle, caring and helpful to others. In the first stanza the poet talks about the kindness of the trees towards the animal world. They provide shade to the sleepy cows and provide a place for the birds to gather and to build their nest as well among their branches. In the second stanza the poet talks about the tree's kindness to human beings. They provide us with food, wood for building houses and leaves full of beauty and joy in spring time, when the trees get fresh leaves and flowers.
The trees are kind because they just grow (without much help from us) and in their process of growth, they only shower blessings on man and animals without harming anyone. The images of `sleeping cows' and `birds among their bough' evokes an extremely pleasant, simple and peaceful landscape. The first two stanzas create an image of a peaceful and harmonious world and at the centre of the world are the trees which provide many things but demand very little or nothing from us.

This atmosphere of peace and tranquility is carried over to the stanzas, 3 and 4. The third stanza talks about the loftiness of the trees. The trees, being tall, are the first ones to catch the morning beams of the sun as it rises over the horizon. The expression `To touch the beams of morning sun" make the trees seem tall, majestic and lofty reaching out to the sun with their many arms (branches) spread out. And they are also the last to "hold the light" before night sets in. It seems as if the trees, in a generous gesture, bring in and hold the life giving sunlight for the world's benefit. And finally, in the last stanzas the trees sing a lullaby, when the moon is up, to put people to sleep. The trees look very benign in the stanza. After the day's work when people are tired and sleepy, the trees, like an old loving grandmother, sings them a lullaby of `sleepy children long ago.' This lullaby is the rustling of leaves in a gentle breeze. It reminds people of sleepy children or in other words, of uncorrupted, pure and simple life. The last line is a repetition of the opening line, "Trees are the kindest things I know." The poet's belief that trees are the kindest things is reinforced through the various images used in the poem and this is again reaffirmed in the last line of the poem.

Harry Behn's Trees

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