Here is Robert Bly’s “Poem Against the British” from Silence in the Snowy Fields (1953):
The wind through the box-elder trees
Is like rides at dusk on a white horse,
Wars for your country, and fighting the British.
I wonder if Washington listened to the trees.
All morning I have been sitting in the grass,
Higher than my eyes, beneath trees,
And listening upward, to the wind in leaves.
Suddenly I realize there is one thing more:
There is also the wind through the high grass.
There are palaces, boats, silence among white buildings,
Iced drinks on marble tops, among cool rooms;
It is good also to be poor, and listen to the wind.
I read D’Aulaire’s biography of George Washington to the children today. After learning about his time spent surveying and mapping the Virginia wilderness, I believe Washington probably did listen to the trees. My favorite line in this poem is the last one. I think you could substitute “poor” with “humble.” That’s the meaning I take from the poem. It might be good to be famous, important, or rich, but it is also good to be humble. Listening to the wind is a humble thing.