Classical education challenges its students to explore beauty in God’s creation and to train the soul to love that which is worth loving. In true classical form, Junior Emily Carney was able to capture the conflict that a tree may encounter when considering its role in the greater realm of beauty in her poem Canterbury Narrative.
“I have always been fascinated with nature and the life that is found within it,” Emily explained. “I like to view it as something that is moving and breathing – just as we are. So I guess the idea for the poem just came naturally (no pun intended)!
“I did a bit of research and found that most paper is made from pine trees. At first, I didn’t know what to do with that information, but after a few hours stumbling through countless words that had no rhyming partners, I ended up with a tale about how a timid tree endured great hardships and sacrifice to become the canvas for something beautiful.”
Emily presented her poem at this year’s Student Works Assembly before the entire student body and you can find the text below. Enjoy!
By Emily Carney
There once was a pine so majestic and bold.
The strength of her coat could withstand the cold
Of the mountainside on which she stood,
Along with companions all covered in wood.
Knee deep in snow and exposed to the wind,
She and her friends had been left to fend
For themselves while the wild beasts tore at their arms,
Hoping and praying they’d do them no harm.
She had had a rough life, as I’m sure you can see
But that never seemed to dull her childlike glee.
The warmth of the sun put a smile on her face
And suddenly the woods weren’t such a scary place.
While it may seem as though she had nothing to fear,
Little did she know there was great danger near.
For the land that she sat on had recently been sold
To a large paper company that only wanted gold.
They would tarnish and tear down their much beloved land
And hardly leave anything left there to stand.
They would shave the great pines right down to a wisp
And burn what was left right down to a crisp.
They didn’t care much for morals or doing what’s right
I guess that is why they put up such a fight
To swindle the land owners to the lowest of prices
By use of manipulation and other devices.
They stole and they cheated but they got what they wanted.
By Mother Nature herself I am sure they’ll be haunted.
Now back to the pine as she trembled with fear
Sensing those unrighteous men soon would be near.
By the sound of the chainsaws and other machines,
She knew that her fate was soon to be seen.
The evil beasts approached with spiked metal in hand
whirring and roaring like some metallic band.
One by one her companions were felled
The crimes that happened there were unparalleled.
At long last they reached her nook in the woods
And cut down the trees until she alone stood.
Though she was once powerful, tall, and strong,
She was crippled by fear, knowing she wouldn’t last long.
The men tore at her skin, roaring with pride
All that she wanted was to run away and hide.
But she stayed rooted to the ground, scared though she was,
Her spine never bent, fighting death’s jaws.
A groan and a crash she uttered as she fell,
Whether the fall was fatal only time will tell.
Limbs being grabbed and hoisted in the air,
The pain was nearly too great to bear.
Thrown on a truck like some ragged old doll,
Her power was stripped from her as they began to haul
The sturdy old pines to an unknown destination.
Though in no time at all, they reached their new station.
Loaded into a warehouse and stripped of her bark,
Not only was she lonely, but also quite stark.
Skipping past the shredding and slicing and such,
(all of those details seemed a bit much)
And on to the results of this terrible pain,
What this pine suffered was for our gain.
For she passed into a new life, reincarnated.
Thousands of memories to us she donated.
One of her lives was described as such:
That she was painted and decorated by a child’s touch.
The small chubby fingers all coated in color,
Painted abstract portraits for the mom of the crawler.
They were hung on the fridge with love and affection,
So many were they that she started a collection.
Someday that child who painted with his hands,
grew up to be an artist with millions of fans.
And even now to this day as the mother grows older,
She keeps those bright finger paintings at home in a folder.
The old pine gave life for those wonderful days
that they can look back on and remember nowadays.
And to tie this all back to a current situation,
The only reason you are able to read this narration,
Is because of a life one pine decided to give
In order for our words to be able to live.
The Gutenberg Press was only created
Because the pines had been designated
To carry the burden of what needs to be said
For all of those whose works that deserve to be read.
They say the pen is a mighty sword,
But without the page, those words are ignored.