The Old Man in the Tree

I once met a man who lived high in a tree
Down on the south coast of old Sicily
The people would stop and look up and they’d say
“Why do you live in the strange way?”

A tree is no place for a man they would say
The city’s much nicer please don’t go this way
It hurts us to see how you suffer they’d say
Please turn back you’ve gone the wrong way!

At first it was hard for the man in the tree
But soon he was comfortable as could be
Soon people admired and envied his style
And traveled to see him from miles

Tell us old man from high up in the tree
Your secret for somehow we just cannot see
We’ve hunted for silver and searched for the gold
But life’s grown no richer just cold

Riches like silver and gold have I none
But I have the moon and the stars and the sun
The sky is my blanket when daytime is done
The wind cools the scorch of the sun

Year after year you stay  up in the tree
The wind and the rain you take so comfortable
Your life seems so simple and yet it’s so grand
Please help us we don’t understand

The old man looked down from his perch in the sky
He could see clearly ‘cause he was so high
Perspective he said is the name of the game
I’m special ‘cause I’m not the same

Surely there’s more to your secret than that
After all we could have been where you’re at
Your answer’s too simple for us to accept
You and your theories we reject

He turned with a smile laughed and said with a glee
Then you go live your life and I’ll live like me
And judge for yourself who the happier be
You or the old man in the tree



Sometimes it is easier to say what the heck
Just ignore the problems the whole thing reject
Just pretend the problems what ever they be
Are not worth your time or your efforts the key

It’s all about attitude it in your head
Just go to sleep – back to bed – play like you are dead
Tomorrow – today – it will all go away
Just give it some time and just refuse to pay

Our lives are now open like doors with out keys
What’s Important today tomorrow won’t be
We live on computers false realities
We think that we matter because strangers see

What is it in us that we all feel we need
To have so many friends we’re all on TV
Our problems our stories our dreams we do share
Believing that thousands of strangers will care

It’s sad that our world is so young and naive
That we all need to wear our hearts on our sleeves
We text and we tweet and we often repeat
A hundred times over we publish deceit

The pictures we share now show us with more hair
We’re fat and were lazy we really don’t care
We’re proud of the fact that we don’t have to work
So big we’re disabled we all have our quirks

So now the world owes us and we are all stressed
You can’t even get up go out or get dressed
So many problems for the pills in the drawer
Just take one for the stress and then take a few more

You can’t concentrate now or focus my mind
You must deserve better from all of mankind
So why not today just pretend that you’re dead
Just lay there complaining – You might need new meds

The world all around you will surely go on
But you can just lay there – it’s just all so wrong
You’re life – you’re existence – depends on the state
What happens from here is more luck than just fate

It’s sad that together so many gave up
I know it’s a mess but with work and some luck
Perhaps it can change we can turn from our greed
But living so large has become our new creed

We have to have this and we have to have that
We can’t live without it – we just like fat cats
No longer see reason – no longer know thrift
We all are like sheep that have been set adrift

Technology now it is moving so fast
We all feel no need to get off of our ass
Let robot machines built the things that we own
If anyone threaten just send in a drone

The world all around us is going to hell
Big corporations have all poisoned the well
The doctors and lawyers the Gods that now be
Strings pulled by lobbyist – behind closed door thieves

No fiscal restraint and no morality
The truth’s full of lies and distorted to be
All too big to fail yet can you really not see?
It’s all about greed we have all been deceived

It’s all been high jacked and world is no more
It’s all now control behind secret closed doors
If you don’t have your share – too late to complain
You’re home values gone and it’s all such a shame

So why not get up and go jump in your truck
Just look out the window you only see yuck
Perhaps if you vote to remove the disease
Tomorrow we’ll wake up and we will be free


Randy is an American who spent most of his life in construction and music. He is now retired and lives on a remote island in the Philippines.

This poem is among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

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