If value's made by laboring, the tree
Is valueless until I chop it down --
And with each chop I put myself, not free
But bound by labor to this leafy crown.
And when you buy my boards, you buy a part
Of me and nail me into crossbeams, house
My spirit in your home. You raise my heart
In walls, and when my beams are roofed you rouse
In me a certainty your house is mine,
At least in part, because my labor makes
The tree have value when I raze it, shape
The wood. I put myself in every line --
You cannot think my sale to you forsakes
My claim -- your every purchase is a rape.
I look upon my trees with love, the leaves
That quiver in the breeze. My neighbor drops
His trees he values for their wood -- his sleeves
Rolled up, he sweats to harvest all his crops.
An ancient tulip tree, two hundred feet,
Just barely on his land, with tempting wood
Is next. How can I let it drop? I'm fleet
To him and beg to buy the tree for good.
We walk away, both satisfied. The tree
Will grow its tulip leaves and tulip flowers
For me to see. His wallet holds the cost.
When all has value, nothing can be free,
From wood for homes to water brought by showers --
But each has what he wants, and nothing's lost.