STEPHEN SONDHEIM


Someone In A Tree Lyrics

[OLD MAN]
Pardon me, I was there

[RECITER]
You were where?

[OLD MAN]
At the treaty house

[RECITER]
At the treaty house?

[OLD MAN]
There was a tree

[RECITER]
Which was where?

[OLD MAN]
Very near

[RECITER]
Over here?

[OLD MAN]
Maybe over there
But there were trees then, everywhere
May I show you?

[RECITER]
If you please

[OLD MAN]
There were trees
Then, everywhere

[RECITER]
But you were there

[OLD MAN]
And I was there!
Let me show you

[RECITER]
If you please

[OLD MAN]
(Old Man tries to climb the tree.)

I was younger then…

(Tries again.)
I was good at climbing trees…

(Tries again.)
I was younger then…

(Tries again.)
I saw everything…

(Tries again.)
I was hidden all the time…

(Tries again.)
It was easier to climb…

(Tries again.)
I was younger then…

(Tries again.)
I saw everything…

(Tries again.)
Where they came and where they went
I was part of the event
I was someone in a tree!

(Tries to climb once more.)
I was younger then!

(Suddenly, a young boy appears, scurries across the stage, and up the tree.)

[BOY]
(to the Old Man)
Tell him what I see!

[OLD MAN]
I am in a tree
I am ten
I am in a tree

[BOY]
I was younger then

[OLD MAN]
In between the eaves I can see—

(to the Boy)
Tell me what I see

(to the Reciter)
I was only ten

[BOY]
I see men and matting
Some are old, some chatting

[OLD MAN]
If it happened, I was there![BOY]
I see everything![OLD MAN]
I saw everything!

[OLD MAN]
I was someone in a tree

[BOY]
Tell him what I see!

[OLD MAN]
Some of them have gold on their coats

[BOY]
One of them has gold

(to the Reciter)
He was younger then

[OLD MAN]
Someone crawls around passing notes—

[BOY]
Someone very old—

[OLD MAN]
(to the Reciter)
He was only ten

[BOY]
And there's someone in a tree—

[OLD MAN]
—Or the day is incomplete

[BOTH]
Without someone in a tree
Nothing happened here

[OLD MAN]
I am hiding in a tree

[BOY]
I'm a fragment of the day

[BOTH]
If I weren't, who's to say
Things would happen here the way
That they happened here?[OLD MAN]
I was there then
It's the pebble, not the stream. [BOY]
It's the fragment, not the day
I am here still

[BOTH]
It's the ripple, not the sea
Not the building, but the beam
Not the garden, but the stone
Not the treaty house
Someone in a tree

[WARRIOR]
(A Warrior slides the panel open underneath the house)
Pardon me, I am here
If you please, I am also here
[OLD MAN]
They kept drinking cups of tea

[BOY]
They kept sitting on the floor

[BOTH]
They drank many cups of tea

(to each other)
No, we told him that before

[WARRIOR]
If you please, I am here

[RECITER]
You are where?

[WARRIOR]
In the treaty house

[RECITER]
In the treaty house?

[WARRIOR]
Or very near

[RECITER]
Can you hear?

[WARRIOR]
I'm below

[RECITER]
So I notice

[WARRIOR]
Underneath the floor
And so I can't see anything
I can hear them
But I can't see anything

[RECITER]
But you can hear?

[WARRIOR]
But I can hear
Shall I listen?

[RECITER]
If you please

[WARRIOR]
I can hear them now…
I shall try to shift my knees…
I can hear them now…
I hear everything…
I'm the part that's underneath
With my sword inside my sheath
I can hear them now
One is over me
If they knock, then I appear
I'm a part of what I hear
I'm the fragment underneath...
I can hear them now!

[RECITER, OLD MAN, & BOY]
Tell us what you hear!

[WARRIOR]
First I hear a creak and a thump
Now I hear a clink
Then they talk a bit
Many times they shout when they speak
Other times they think
Or they argue it
I hear floorboards groaning
Angry growls, much droning
Since I hear them, they are there
As they argue it
I'm the listener underneath

[BOY]
(Boy peers into the house.)
Someone reads a list
From a box

[WARRIOR]
Someone talks of laws

[OLD MAN]
Then they fan a bit

[BOY]
Someone bangs a fist

[WARRIOR]
Someone knocks

[OLD MAN]
Now there was a pause

[ALL]
Then they argue it:

[WARRIOR]
"But we want—"
"No, you can't
And we won't—"
"But we need it
And we want—"
"Will you grant —"
"If you don't—"
"We concede it"[OLD MAN]
And they sat
Through the night
And they lit
Yellow tapers
I was
There
Then

If I
Weren't, who's to
Say
Things would
Happen here the
Way
That they're
Happening?[WARRIOR]
I can hear
Them

I'm a
Fragment of the
Day

If I
Weren't, who's to
Say
Things would
Happen here the
Way
That they're
Happening?[BOY]

And they
Chat
And they fight
And they sit
Signing papers
I am
There
Still
If I
Weren't who's to
Say
That they're
Happening?

[ALL]
It's the fragment, not the day
It's the pebble, not the stream
It's the ripple, not the sea
That is happening
Not the building but the beam
Not the garden but the stone
Only cups of tea
And history
And someone in a tree

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Songwriter(s): Stephen Sondheim
Record Label(s): 1994 BMG Music
Official lyrics by

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