The kind of human interest story Bay Area folks lap up like small-batch almond milk, someone used a Sharpie to write a heartfelt poem on a recently cutdown tree near Lake Merritt. But not just any poem. As reported in the New York Times' California Today newsletter and picked up by 7x7, the poem in question, The Giving Tree, is by Shel Silverstein.
(Fun fact about Silverstein, he also penned “I’m Checking Out,” as sung by Meryl Streep, for Postcards from the Edge.)
The poem, which is about a tree that gives all it has to a boy, reads:
‘I don’t need very much now,’
said the boy,
‘just a quiet place to sit and rest.
I am very tired.’
‘Well,’ said the tree,
straightening herself up
as much as she could,
‘well, an old stump is good
for sitting and resting.
Come, Boy, sit down.
Sit down and rest.’
“It appeared to have been carved with a back, for the purpose of sitting. Was it intentional?” asks NYT. “Sean Maher, a spokesman with Oakland’s public works department, said he was unable to find out.”
The stump is reportedly somewhere on Acton Place, according to Redditor elphyy.
This isn’t the first time an urban tree has been cut down and used as a chair. A tree at Folsom and Mabini in SoMa was also carved to resemble a chair.
- "The Giving Tree" Chair Appears in Oakland [7x7]
- A tree was cut down in my neighborhood...Oakland's response [Reddit]
- California Today [NYT]
- Oakland [Curbed SF]