Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Why It Is Wrong To Cut Down Trees

Why It Is Wrong To Cut Down Trees

By Simeon Dumdum

The chickens were back
As if nothing had happened,
As if the land of their roost,
A guava tree,
Had not been sold,
And the owner of the land
Had not fled the country,
Tired of having always
To start his business
After every coup attempt,
And hearing, whenever
His sales would pick up,
Of mysterious troop movements
In the capital.

They were again in the yard,
As if the new owner,
An old colonel,
Whose estate far exceeded his pay
And who had hoped for a position
In the supposed junta,
Had not cut down
The guava tree
In his frustration at the failure

Of the rebel soldiers.                         
The chickens,
Which had grown in number
From the union
Of a leaf-brown hen and a phantom cock,
Which started to roost in the tree
As five siblings,
Occupying first the lowest five branches,
And had multiplied
(Because the phantom kept reappearing)
To fill up all the branches,
Still returned to roost,
Taking the same places
As they had done from the start,
As if the tree were still there,
So that now they stood
On top of each other,

And the mad colonel
Further lost his mind
When—out of habit formed
In the field as soldier—
He broke his sleep
To relieve himself outdoors
And in the moonlight saw the ghost
Of the guava tree.


Simeon Dumdum

Simeon Dumdum Jr. works as a judge and has published eight books. He has won the Palanca Award five times and the National Book Award five times. He lives in Mohon, Talisay, Cebu, with his wife, Gingging, and daughter, Yeni.

Return To Table Of Contents