The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein, United States, 1964

"And the boy loved the tree, very much."

Once there was a giving tree who loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come to play
Swinging from the branches, sleeping in the shade
Laughing all the summer’s hours away.
And so they love,
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

But soon the boy grew older and one day he came and said,
"Can you give me some money, tree, to buy something I’ve found?"
"I have no money," said the tree, "Just apples, twigs and leaves."
"But you can take my apples, boy, and sell them in the town."
And so he did and
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

But soon again the boy came back and he said to the tree,
"I’m now a man and I must have a house that’s all my home."
"I can’t give you a house" he said, "The forest is my house."
"But you may cut my branches off and build yourself a home"
And so he did.
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

And time went by and the boy came back with sadness in his eyes.
"My life has turned so cold," he says, "and I need sunny days."
"I’ve nothing but my trunk," he says, "But you can cut it down
And build yourself a boat and sail away."
And so he did and
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

And after years the boy came back, both of them were old.
"I really cannot help you if you ask for another gift."
"I wish that I could give you something. But I have nothing left to give you."
"I’m nothing but an old stump now," said the tree.
"I do not need very much now, just a quiet place to rest,"
The boy whispered, with a weary smile.
"Well", said the tree, "An old stump is still good for that."
"Come, boy", he said, "Sit down, sit down and rest a while."
And so he did and
Oh, the trees was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

"I wish that I could give you something."

Churchill Films, 1973

¿No es acaso el árbol un hombre?

"Is this a sad tale? Well, it is sad in the same way that life is depressing. We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up. Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree. Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible. The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence. The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting. Should the tree's giving be contingent on the boy's gratitude? If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed." Ben Jackson, linking the story to the human condition and asserting that readers ought to identify with both the boy and the tree.

La Vita è Bella, 1997


Nicole Myrand said...

Merci Mariano

NCL said...

Al leer el poema me emociono. También me gusta mucho el dibujo, es tierno.
Deja una enseñanza profunda. Un beso.

Mónica Ottino said...

Mariano: excelente y conmovedor. Somos el chico y el árbol por turnos en todo tipo de relación. Abrazo, Mónica

Aemen Javairia said...

Great and inspiring. An inspiring poem connecting human lives and their surroundings. How often do we realise the importance of those who make a difference in our lives? Some persons never understand the meaning of this poem until they reach the end of their lives. There is a lot of beautiful symbolism in the poem. It elaborates the importance of human [needs and] desires and how one overlooks the other's existence in persuing them. The beauty and sincerity of the giver is far beyond my understanding sometimes or maybe I forget to feel about this. Gracias Mariano :)