An Arbor Day Anthem

“People!” she said with a sawdusty sneeze,
“I’m not the Lorax. But I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I’m asking you, people, at the top if my lungs”-
she was very upset as she did shout and yell,
“Don’t you have a tree that you once knew so well?”
Perhaps it was in your yard’s back or the side,
Maybe the trunk was thin or quite wide,
Was it the kind that had leaves that turn in the fall?
Or needles so green that they don’t change at all?
Did you play underneath it, climb to its top?
Take a big leap that ended in flop?
Did you once find a nest hidden safely so high
And watch as the birds had their first chance to fly?
Did you take the branches that fell to the ground
And turn them into swords for the enemies you found?
Did you take the leaves red or orange in their looks
And press them between paper, stacked between books?
Did you sit in its branches and contemplate life?
Did you carve in initials with an old pocket knife?
I, not the Lorax, have something to say,
I’ve had a tree or two in my day.
There have been forts underneath that I carefully made,
I’ve leaned on their trunks, I’ve sat in their shade.
I’ve made piles and piles of their leaves that I raked,
And I’ve cursed them again as my shoulders they ached.
But I’ve never saw a tree and said, “hey, you know,
That old giant tree there?  It’s just got to go.
It’s ugly.  It’s pointless.  My view is impeded.
The shade and the oxygen, it’s really not needed.
That kid that plays there, he’ll not know it’s gone.
Let’s chop it down and let the grass grow right on.”
Instead I’ll say things like, “That tree there’s a beaut’,
From the top of its crown to the base of its root.
It’s taken forever for it to grow to this size
And someday when this gargantuan dies,
It’ll crash with a boom and I hope I’m not near it!
(But I wonder then, if someone will hear it?)”
At the end of each April, on the last of Fridays,
There’s this wonderfully simple of all holidays.
It’s Arbor Day!  A day that speaks for the trees,
That started around eighteen hundred seventy three,
And reminds us each year that these things growing tall
Shouldn’t be taken for granted at all.
So this year, I urge to you take a quick look outside
Where the big trees grow and the Lorax abides,
And find a nice tree to call your own,
And perhaps a fresh spot where one can be grown,
And plant in a sapling, so fragile and frail,
Give it water to drink from an old wooden pail,
Give it rich soil too so its roots can have room
And watch as the leaves soon blossom and bloom.
Do this year after year, it’s more than a ploy,
So your grandkids can have a tree to enjoy,
Just as you, in your youth once did,
When you were just tree-loving kid.

Arbor Day this year is celebrated on Friday, April 27, 2012 in Ohio.


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