I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
TR: Once there was a fir tree that grew in the North Woods of Minnesota, near the Canadian border. (WIND) It stood on a slight rise, and it was taller than other trees because the soil around its roots was so rich and so it could see for miles and miles.
GK: Wow. ---- Incredible. (EAGLE FLIES OVER) Beautiful.
TR: It dawned on him that the world was enormous. It was so much more than this woods with its wolves (HOWL) and its owls (OWLS) and its moose (MOOSE) ---- it was almost endless.
GK: I want to get out there and see it.
SS: See what?
TR: Said his mother who was right there beside him.
GK: See what's out there.
SS: Out where?
GK: I can see a huge lake or something. There's a whole world out there. SS: What do you want to see that for?
GK: There's got to be more than trees.
SS: Don't be ridiculous. You're a tree. Trees stay put.
GK: I don't know about that.
TR: The fir tree wanted more out of life. And one day a pileated woodpecker came and sat in his branches. (SQUACK)
TK (BIRD): Hey. Sweetheart ---- you are some tree, you know that?
GK: Well, thank you very much.
TK (BIRD): A tree as good as you ---- you don't belong out here in the woods where nobody can see you. You belong in the big city.
GK: What's that like?
TK (BIRD): The city? It's fabulous. (SQUACK) Fabulous.
TR: And the woodpecker tapped a hole in the fir tree (WOODPECKER TAPPING) and that night the fir tree had a dream ----- (DREAM CHORDS) (CITY TRAFFIC, HONKING, PASSERS BY)
GK: Wow. Bright lights. People. Some trees and a lot of lights. And those people sitting in a big dark box and (TR TENOR) a man singing and (CROWD APPLAUSE) and-look in that window-- There's a giant tree. Just like me. With bright lights on it. And a star on top. Gifts piled at its feet and people gazing up at it, singing. People singing to a tree. In the city, people worship trees!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blatter!
Du grunst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blatter
TR: (GK SIGH) and soon a big wind came up (WIND) and the fir tree was rocked back and forth by the wind (CREAKING, GROANING) ----
GK: Wow. That is some wind. (CRACKING) Mom?
SS: (WEAKLY) It got me, son. (CRACKING)
GK: Hang onto me, Mom. I'll hold you up.
SS: (WEAK) No. I'm done for. (CREAKING) Be happy, son. And listen---- your dream of going somewhere---- (CRACK) I think you oughta do it. (CRACKING, SS GROAN, FALLING, CRASH AND CRUNCH) (CHORDS)
GK: Mom. My mom. Gone. (WIND, EAGLE FLIES OVER) I'm all alone now. (PIANO UNDER) All alone in the world. No reason to stay put. There's no such thing as staying put. I could be the next one to fall. I could get a fungus, standing here, and rot from the inside out. So why not get out and see the world while I can?
O fir tree, O fir tree,
How lovely are your branches!
So tall and handsome in the for-
Est you'd look handsome in New York
Your lights would glitter, flash, and blink
High above a skating rink. (PIANO UNDER)
GK: I could be covered in white lights----tiny shimmering bulbs-a beautiful angel on top----- (SS: (SINGS) Sanctus--.sanctus.)
TR: And a light snow began to fall in the darkness.
GK: And presents ---- piled at my feet-(GOLDEN DINGS) (WINGS AND SQUACK)
TK (BIRD): Hey. It's me. Your pal. Peckie. Listen. Do I have a deal for you. They want you, kid. In the city.
GK: They want me?
TK (BIRD): You are the creme de la creme. The tree of all trees. You're No. 1. They all want you.
GK: Do I get lights?
TK (BIRDS): Thousands of em.
GK: Flashing lights?
TK (BIRDS): Flashing, bubbling, zipping, every kinda light you want. Whaddaya say? You want to go? Hit the big time?
TR: And the very next morning (CHAINSAW) a crew came, and ----
GK: Oh dear. Here goes. (CHAINSAW BITING) Ouch. Ohhhh. (CHAINSAW, INTO BRIDGE)
TR: And the fir tree went unconscious and fell over (CRACKING AND FALLING, ON SNOWBANK) and the men stood over it----
TK: Wow. That is some tree. (WINCH)
TR: And they winched the tree onto a huge truck (TRUCK STARTS) and the truck headed for the city (TRUCK ACCEL) and it got to the city and it pulled into a park (VOICES OF CREW) and the tree was wrapped with lights (VOICES) and lifted up onto a stand. (WINCH). And there it stood. (PIANO) And slowly the fir tree awoke.
GK: Huh? Wha--- Where am I? I'm ---- oh. (TRAFFIC PASSING, HORNS) In the city.
TK (BIRD): Hey. How ya doing? It's me, Peckie. Remember? Howd'ya like it? Nice, huh? Lights. Music.
GK: Where am I?
TK (BIRD): Where are you??? You're in Saint Paul.
GK: Saint Paul????
TK (BIRD): Yeah. Where'd you think you were? New York? (LAUGHTER, SCREECH)
GK: I thought I was supposed to get presents-
TK (BIRD): That's only if you're indoors. You're too big for indoors. So you're outside.
GK: I can see that. I just thought the buildings would be taller.
TK (BIRD): It's St. Paul, okay? It ain't Minneapolis.
GK: They didn't want me in Minneapolis?
TK (BIRD): Minneapolis opted for another tree. One without a ---- you know---- you've got a whatchamacallit. Right back there.
GK: Where?
TK (BIRD): Back there. You can't see it but it's kind of a big hole in your branches----
GK: Where----- Back here---? (RUSTLING) Oh.
TK (BIRD): Yeah. Right there. Big hole -
GK: I had no idea. It's a big---- great big----
TK (BIRD): Kind of unsightly. Minneapolis wanted something ---- you know---- perfect.
GK: Well, I guess I better just accept who I am. A flawed fir tree. And just---be the best fir tree I can be.
TR: And so the fir tree stood in the park in St. Paul, and it was cold but he was used to that. Days went by. Cars drove past (CARS), and a fat man in a red suit stood near his trunk and rang a bell.
TK (SANTA): Ho ho ho..(BELL) Ho ho---
TR: And the fir tree stood and watched the world go by and another bird came and landed in his branches.
SS (BIRD): Hello.
GK: Hello. Do I know you?
SS (BIRD): No. But I know you. I've been watching you. I have something to tell you. You will soon go on a long journey.
GK: Oh oh.
SS (BIRD): You are meant for great things.
GK: Yeah, I remember another bird telling me the same thing a few weeks ago.
SS (BIRD): You will be taken down and your lights will be removed and you'll be chopped into little pieces.
GK: This doesn't sound so great to me.
SS (BIRD): And you'll be sent to the pulp mill and you'll be made into paper and you'll become a book. A book of poetry.
GK: Poetry??? You're not just saying that?
SS (BIRD): You will become a beautiful book of poetry.
GK: I'm not going to become some sort of computer manual? Or one-ply toilet paper?
SS (BIRD): You will be poetry. People will read you. Over and over.
GK: Is there a place I can sit down? I'm feeling sort of tired.
SS (BIRD): You will live on and on ---- as poetry.
GK: I hope you're right. I think I'm falling asleep.
SS (BIRD): I can tell you the poem. Do you want to hear it?
GK: I'm just going to'close my eyes--.(WIND)
TR (ANNC): And the tree fell down (TREE FALLS), and as it lay on the ground, it could feel itself slowly turning into poetry----beautiful poetry--(PIANO)
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
I've miles to go before I sleep.