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Jayne Jaudon Ferrer


You are not a pretty thing.
Gangly, misshapen, with
twisted trunk and arms akimbo,
you have no inherent grace, no hidden mystery,
no subtle charm whatsoever.
Here, amid the glory of God’s fauna,
your random tips poke the morning
like a mutant starfish wedged atop a gutless tree.
In this spring-breezed, sun-kissed clearing,
your branches flail like the arms of a toddler:
Hey! Look at me! Look at me!
Around you, stately firs and bobbling jonquils
stretch, embarrassed, toward the sky;
vines and ivy tendrils curl away.
Across the path, your elder pines stand rigid,
fresh lime needles fluttering, chastely,
like the fans of a thousand geishas.
You are not one of them,
did not have some ecologically-minded soul
plant a seedling version of yourself in
carefully choreographed reforestation.
No, you are rogue—an uninvited,
unexpected spawn of Mother Nature,
set out to stake your claim in the name
of serendipity and survival of the fittest.

© by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer.
Used with the author's permission.


Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is the author of five books of poetry, a nonfiction book about games, and a novel, Hayley and the Hot Flashes. Jayne created in 2009 to share the pleasure and diversity of poetry. A former copywriter, magazine editor, newspaper columnist, and freelance journalist, her work has appeared in hundreds of publications. When not writing or reading, Jayne enjoys music, old movies, gardening, hiking, and good conversation. A native Floridian, she has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for almost 30 years. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
I conjured up a picture of this tree by your description and it wasn't pretty! But it was so interesting to think about what it looked like! Thanks Jayne, lots of fun.
Posted 06/04/2023 09:01 PM
What a compelling poem!
Posted 05/28/2023 09:50 AM
So many terrific images here, Jayne! Well done!
Posted 04/30/2023 01:24 AM
It's great to see your work, too, marching along in the the spring poetry parade!
Posted 04/29/2023 06:08 PM
Lori Levy:
Thought-provoking to read a poem about a tree that is "not a pretty thing." Great metaphors, especially, "your branches flail like the arms of a toddler."
Posted 04/29/2023 03:23 PM
Vividly descriptive, with expressive metaphors, similes, and personification!
Posted 04/29/2023 01:12 PM
Trees, dogs, children... This poem applies.
Posted 04/29/2023 12:56 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
Love this visual personification poem. I can see the "mutant starfish wedged atop a gutless tree," the "spring-breezed, sun-kissed clearing," and branches "flailing like the arms of a toddler." "stately firs and bobbling jonquils stretch, embarrassed, toward the sky..." vines and ivy tendrils curl away.
Posted 04/29/2023 12:27 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Your carefully chosen words take the reader right along to the perfect ending, a place where "serendipity and survival of the fittest" reign. Well done, Jane!
Posted 04/29/2023 11:57 AM
Lots of great lines and images in this poem, Jayne!! Good one!!
Posted 04/29/2023 11:42 AM
Love this poem, all of it, especially "You have no inherent grace, no hidden mystery, no subtle charm whatsoever." And later "You are not one of them" - a perfect break in the seamless flow of the rest of the poem. A lovely tribute to an unpretty survivor...
Posted 04/29/2023 11:04 AM
I love the thousand geisha fans.
Posted 04/29/2023 09:53 AM
Darrell Arnold:
One small DNA-loaded seed planted by nature in appropriate soil, soil made up of the detritus of decayed plant matter. Add adequate moisture, sunlight, CO2-ladened air, considerable time, and God's miracle of life, and it all becomes a tree of one kind or another. Where life can survive, it will thrive. Awesome!
Posted 04/29/2023 08:27 AM
"like the fans of a thousand Geishas" -- love the image.
Posted 04/29/2023 08:10 AM
liz dolan:
Beautiful images, Jayne, to start my day. Liz
Posted 04/29/2023 08:04 AM

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