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Friday, January 05, 2007

Pinus Contortus

I know that poetry can be painful to read and sometimes even worse to understand. In some of my work, I leave the message somewhat open so the reader can take a piece of his/her own story to meld with the work and derive something meaningful. Here is such a piece. The poem is named "Pinus Contortus"; an unlikely name for a poem. It is the genus and species for a common evergreen found in the western US called the lodgepole pine. Lodgepole pines are famous for being long, straight, and even grained. Yet there is something about them for which their scientific name was dubbed "contortus". Under stress, the lodgepole will assume some of the oddest shapes imaginable. Think of one of those soda straws all bent around in loops... I've seen trees like that.

No, this isn't really a poem about a lodgepoll pine. It is a poem written for us. We've been dealt a hard hand and it is up to us to redo god's handiwork. Just like the tree, we change ourselves in order to live. Just like that tree, we are often viewed as unsuitable examples of humanity. But, like the tree, we have developed character and we have survived.

Life and nature are wonderful teachers. The worth of a person is often evaluated by their appearance. Often times the struggle of their life is the most meaningful standard.

This is the meaning I have crafted behind these few words in this poem. I hope this explanation is helpful in understanding my "contorted" mind

Chin up (stick up your needles!)


Pinus Contortus

The contorted trunk of the pine tree bends.
Unnatural, ugly, and twisted, it wends
green spines upward to capture sun’s light.
Long gone are the forces that created its plight,
the untold struggle to find
a way to survive after struck down in its prime.
Along the ground it lay
and there it would have stayed
if not for its sheer will to live.
No, this tree will not give
wood straight and true.
Cockeyed and bent it has no use
to satisfy someone’s fancy
of what a tree should be.

Copyright 2007 Cindi Jones

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