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Paradise Lost.
(Could be sung to the tune of John Prine's Paradise)

I praise you, John Prine and I hope you won't mind

If I screw up your song to help the forest along.

Even while I am singing, the axeman is swinging,

Choppin' down all that green to plant corn, rice, and bean.

Daddy won't you take me to the Primary Forest,

By the Amazon River where Paradise lies?

I'm sorry, my son, but the forest is gone!

I'll show you some slides, that'll have to suffice.

If you'll not name me there's something I'll mention

And so folks won't blame me, I'll quote Peter Jenson.

There may be stronger reasons but I can't think of any,

We're losing the forest "because we're too many."

Hope you like to rehearse a song written for us;

Hope you enjoy the verse but don't mean the chorus.

You can bring some help to Rain Forest Peru.

It's all up to you, don't let the chorus come true.

Momma, won't you take me to the Primary Forest,

On the Amazon River where Paradise lies?

I'm sorry, my daughter, but I don't think I ought'er.

We've waited too long, now the forest is gone.

Oh axeman unkind you are blowing my mind!

Camu-camu and brazilnut, they can help fill your gut.

But year after year, once the forest is clear,

You'll have less and less food and you'll run out of wood.

Of all things the dearest, we're losin' the forest.

Please spare that tree, 'cause it might help spare thee.

Jaborandi, papain, curare, quinidine;

The forest's the best for your medicine chest.

With new diseases emerging we've got to be urging,

Please save those trees, they might cure new disease.

For tomorrow's germ "thugs" may resist our old drugs.

Conservation insures us tomorrow's new cures.

Never thought ecotours could be one of the curers;

Taking "green" bucks from gringoes, getting mud on their toes.

Million acres of Peru, it's a `callin' to you.

You can help to preserve with the "green" they deserve.

That's why I like to go to the camp they call "Napo"

Hoping some of my pleas kinda' help save the trees.

I'd rather you'd find me sunnin' with the tree huggers

Than back in D.C. a'runnin' from muggers!

There's one melodrama that sets me to raving,

All this forest Explorama is goin' to be saving.

If the ecotours thrive, Indian cultures survive

And the children will strive to keep tradition alive.

With thousands of species burned or turned into feces,

Sawdust and cow feeds and things nobody needs.

I hope you will heed us -- the forest can feed us.

You'd best spare that tree, 'cause that tree could be we!

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By James A. Duke