What do we plant when we plant a tree?

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What do we plant when we plant a tree?
by Henry Abbey

What do we get when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship which will cross the sea;
We plant the pencils to scribble our notes,
We plant the ballots to cast our votes;
We plant the paper in which we read,
The news that o'er wooden poles we speed,
We plant the piles to erect our docks;
We plant the rayon for shirts and socks.

What do we plant when we plant a tree?
We plant the houses for you and me;
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams and siding, all the parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree,
We plant the barrel, the box, the crate;
In which to ship all sorts of freight.

What do we plant when we plant a tree?
A thousand things that we daily see,
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country's flag;
We plant the shade from the hot sun free,
We plant all these when we plant the tree.


This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.