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It Stands

Updated on October 11, 2017

It stands,
Beaten and scarred -

In its younger days
When it was lithe and green,
Some boys thought
It would be great fun
To play lumberjacks.
Soon they tired of their endeavor.

So it stood
Wounded and Bleeding -

When it was older
And the scars had turned ashen,
Some girls thought
It would be great fun
To go put red spray paint
All over the ashen wounds.

Still it stood
Disfigured and Deformed -

When it was a respectable age
And the gnarled limbs showed it pain,
A young lady thought
It would bring great comfort
To sit against the battered tree
And cry under its broken canopy.

So it stood
Beaten and Scarred -


About the Poem, the Real Tree and Christianity

This poem was written in the early 1980s about a tree on Meditation Hill on the campus of St. John's College in Winfield, KS. An alter had been erected on the hill southeast of campus, and many students went there to seek God and pray.

The tree in the poem was on the south side of the hill and hidden from the busier alter area. The tree's trunk was scarred, and red spray paint covered its healing wounds. While Meditation Hill was filled with beautiful trees, this struggling, ugly one called to me, and I often went there to think and sort through the big questions in life including if there really was a God and if Christ was truly His Son.

The tree seemed to represent a sort of Christ-figure with its broken canopy and red, blood like paint dripping from old wounds.

I spent many hours under the tree, and this poem is a tribute to the comfort it brought me as I sorted through difficult life decisions.


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    • Jan Brianne profile image

      Jan Brianne 4 years ago

      Simply Beautiful...

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 4 years ago

      Thank you Audrey!!! I wrote this years ago during a moment of teen angst when I felt very misunderstood. I felt the tree and I developed and understanding, and so I took solace there.

      I very much appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment!!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I loved this--especially the close--we all seek to be understood and it is such a powerful thing when it happens--

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 4 years ago

      Thank you so much janshares!!! I appreciate the votes, but mostly that you took the time to read and comment your thoughts on it. Thank you again. :)

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      agilitymach, I am moved by this piece. What a beautiful tribute to acknowledge the life of this tree and your connection to it. The last line, "Understood," touched my heart. Your style and words spoke eloquently. Very interesting perspective. Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and sharing! I'm so glad I stopped by.

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 4 years ago

      Thank you PDX and dghbrh!!! I very much appreciate your kind words. I don't write much poetry, so your kind comments are very encouraging. :)

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very nice poem indeed about a tree. Votes way upward and sharing also.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      One of the best and most moving poems I've ever read about a tree. Well done. Up and shared!

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 5 years ago

      Thank you Mhatter!! I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      this poem really changes before and after the commentary. Fascinating

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 5 years ago

      Thank you so much Patty, xsstatic and Marsei!!! How encouraging!! I wrote this in the 80s and just don't know how poetic I am now. :) I guess I'll give it a shot sometime. I appreciate you all visiting and your kind words!!

    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      This is just plain lovely. Very touching and the photos add so much. It reminds me of a friend who has gone through so much, yet is still there for so many friends of her own to bring us comfort.

      Thank you for a beautiful piece of writing.


    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      A beautiful poem about a living abused thing that survived much abuse and still gave comfort. Up and more! Write more poetry for certain.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      AWESOME JOB!!! I thought this was your first poem on here, however, I have been having problems with notifications and just thought I must have missed some hubs!!! You did a Phenomenal Job and I look forward to reading more!!!

    • agilitymach profile image

      agilitymach 5 years ago

      Ah, then you very much understand the comfort a tree can provide. I appreciate the story of your willow. Mine was actually a type of pine, if I remember correctly. This is my first poetry hub, and I appreciate your encouragement. :)

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Voted Up and Beautiful!! I loved the pictures you used to go with poem!! Growing up, I had a tree that I would climb and would use to ponder many things about life. That tree was a Willow tree that too was broken in spots and vandalized. However, that tree gave me great comfort and peace!! Awesome Job!!!