Environmental Songbook

Mahogany Tree

By Sarah Pirtle

in Magical Earth by Sarah Pirtle



When you see, when you see the mahogany tree,

oh, tell me what do you see?

When you see, when you see the mahogany tree

in the rainforest of Mexico.


1. I see, said the farmer, my calendar tree.

Mahogany flowers speak to me.

When the blossoms fall and the petals are torn,

I know that it’s time to plant the corn.


2. I see, said the great bird, my butterfly tree.

The food in the branches speaks to me.

I will feast on the moths that hide at the top

while the monkeys howl and the raindrops drop.


3. I see, said the logger, my money tree.

The promise of lumber speaks to me.

This could bring a big price at the company town.

Send the bulldozers in and we’ll cut it right down.


4. I see, said the banker, my money tree.

The shine of the wood speaks to me.

On the forty-fourth floor this could make a fine desk.

Move the bulldozers in and I’ll see to the rest.


5. Stop, said the child, it’s my grandmother tree.

I’ve always known she can speak to me.

She lives in the Mayan memory as a tree of life for my family.


Come around, come around the mahogany tree.

To cut her down you’ll have to pass by me.

We stand in a circle as a family, protect the rainforest of Mexico.



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