PoetryProse and Poems

Four Pine Trees


They had a certain calmness

Those Scots pine trees

That stood together

On the edge of town


Four young saplings

Standing strong

Against the weather

And all its moods


Each year they survived

The four seasons

By standing together,

Never falling down


Violent storms and heavy beatings,

Bitter rain and Autumn winds

Leathered against their bark,

But strong they stood.


Not rigid, never pushing back

But bending with the blows,

Swaying from side to side,

They held their dignity.


They grew stronger every year,

Supported by the joys of nature,

The trickling stream, the rising sun

Every happy creature.


With Mother Earth, they stood proud,

Their beauty plain to see,

But man came, beneath a cloud,

And cut them down.


No one heard their screams,

As they dragged them into town;

Four young trees,

Slaughtered in their prime.


They stripped them bare.

Fed them through a snedder.

Severed their young limbs,

Leaving just their stems.


They stood them up, against the wall,

Those four young trees.

Naked wood, for all to see,

Stripped of their dignity.


They tagged a price upon their heads,

And put them up for sale.

Once proud young saplings,

Now commodities.


The local High School purchased three.

My brothers gone, left only me.

Alone I stood,

My dreams and me.


Chain saws cut my brothers up.

Young boys with knives and chisels,

Gouged out their wooden hearts,

In the local woodwork class.


They roughed them out, against the grain.

Chipped away their soul.

Beat them up with mallets,

And shaved them into shape.


Young hands carved them,

Planed them, veined them, stained them,

Into ornamental carps,

Wooden fish that would not swim.


Three fish in a school,

Their fates would ever be,

To adorn their creators’ mantlepieces,

But never go to sea.


But Saint Wolfgang had a different plan for me,

Separated from my family.

A boat-builder bought me whole,

And saved me from that school.


With the skilled hands of an artisan,

And love and care, he crafted me

Into a model fishing boat,

And launched me out to sea


I bobbed upon the ebbing tide,

As the current took me from the shore.

A solitary sailing vessel,

Carrying the dreams of four.


© Ian Goudie 2020



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