book 1

My family tree was a noble one

But axed beyond recognition,

Hewn down and shredded to bits

Tossed, turned, spit upon

Flattened, cut, and dyed

Pressed, marked upon, taped

A troubled girl upon my face

My life traded for her life

Bartered and bought

Handled in the late night hours

Valued and passed on

Handled in the late night hours

Returned and rejected  –

So I lie squished among others

My end?  Fifty cents or garbage heap?

My memory—once a mighty tree.


Introduction to Poetry, Lesson Four, subject “journey”


About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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14 Responses to JOURNEY

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    Wow! Poignant! Any backstory to this?

    • oneta hayes says:

      Not so much. It is a book my sister bought at a used book store , then loaned to me because she said it was good. I read . It was good. But when I offered it back to her she she didn’t need it. I don’t know what to do with it. I hate selling good books for fifty cents, but. Such is life of a book which will outlive humans by many years. Betrayal by Randall Arthur. Want it? I’m sure it would like to be in the hands of a lover for some long night hours! Heartbreaking story of a preacher seduced by a woman and her life of luxury, and the struggle of the family left behind. He is also betrayed by “church” associates. He asked for trouble and got it by the barrelsful. Redemption, I’d like to think so.

  2. Elihu says:

    Very lovely poem! Excellent composition.

  3. shoreacres says:

    It sounds as though this might be titled, “Reflections upon a piece of ephemera.” I used to enjoy looking at old photos in antique shops and at garage sales — this reminded me of that.

    • oneta hayes says:

      The book that inspired this poem was not a collector’s type. It was paperback written in 1999. Part of the reason it is unloved. Good story, however. Regarding the ephemera, most of my collections are of this type – sheet music, books, fans, magazines, a few valentines, letters and such. I have no glassware except for family pass me downs. I do have some of that which is very nice. Takes up too much space, however.

  4. mandibelle16 says:

    Beautiful and thoughtful poem about the life of a tree. Beautiful to stay a tree, but beautiful to be a book most valued. Yet no good to be a good book discarded.

    • oneta hayes says:

      It would be pretty hard to recycle a book back to a tree, wouldn’t it! I guess decaying they would make fertilizer. Oh, but the story is good. Let’s not think that way.

  5. Hayley says:

    Wow – a very powerful poem and beautifully written Oneta xx

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you, Hayley. So good to see you again. I think I lost you on your move however, I did see you Dad salute. I will use this opportunity to check your new location. And I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. I coming over…

  6. Colette B says:

    Oneta your poetry is awesome! I read and re-read this poem several times yesterday on my mobile phone while journeying. Reading it again today, I imagine I’ll be returning to read it again and again. A fantastic commentary stretching beyond tribute to the tree/the book with wide potential meaning and scope for interpretation. Your poem is excellent – pure quality! Looks as though you are thoroughly enjoying responding to the prompts from the course, looking forward to reading more from you 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you, Colette. You are very encouraging to me. I love the musical cadence of rhymed poetry and feel comfortable with it; however, “Journey” is a reach out of my comfort zone, so you see how I value your critique. As for other significance than the “life of a book” I saw other possibilities as with the cross (tree) and Christ, and a lover and his/her jilted one but didn’t follow through too much, mostly from feeling inadequate to judge those pursuits. With “Christ” angle “a troubled girl upon his face” (stressing “his”) would be very significant to me, since I believe in a very personal Jesus. Again, thank you.

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