Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 358

Four Young Trees

They had a certain calmness
Those Scots pine trees
That stood together
On the edge of Stewarton

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 around their heads
And put them up for sale
Once proud young saplings
Now commodities

Lainshaw 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 S Goudie

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