By Daana Johnson

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?

If the man that cuts the tree denies his crime, does that make him innocent?

Of course, the man is in power, so he ignores the cries of the other trees

Why is the man more important than the tree if the tree gives him what he needs to live

Do we put more emphasis on the life of one man killed by a fallen tree?

Or do we focus on the hundreds of trees taken by man?

The trees cry and shout but with all their might cannot escape their execution by man

A tree has no voice; that is what the trees realize

Day by day a new tree falls, and their shouts and pleas are silenced by the man

Their branches swing violently and leaves hang low, but no one hears them

The only one who can hear them is the man, who continues to execute them one by one until the trees can only cower and shrink when the man arrives,

And so the man continues his crime and the shrinking trees can only weep silently

If a tree falls and no one but the culprit hears it, does it make a sound?

We believe what the man in power tells us, never listening to the trees;

Their cries are constantly silenced, and we’ll never know

If the tree makes a sound when it falls

“If A Tree Falls” was published in Listening to the Trees, a collection of social justice poems with students from the High School of Fashion Industries in 2016. Help support the unique voices of our young authors by sharing their stories and making a donation! To receive notices about opportunities for your child, sign up for our youth writing opportunities newsletter.