Fiction

The story of Tree People


Jeff’s wife Ann was hard to please

Specially when it came to trees.

For some reason she abhorred them

Whilst her husband plain adored them.

“Take the trees down,” she commanded

And to Jeff a saw she handed.

Horrified, Jeff shook his head;

“I’m not doing that,” he said.

 

Quite enraged and getting madder,

Jeff took out their longest ladder,

Leant it up against a tree,

Climbed up to the canopy,

Sat among the tree-top life

In defiance of his wife.

“Trees need our protection, Ann,

And I’ll save them if I can.”

 

“No you won’t,” his wife declared,

Hands on hips, as up she stared.

He stared back, he did not flinch;

Neither of them gave an inch.

Both intractable, these fools

Argued until other tools,

Lying idle in the shed,

Sparked a thought within Ann’s head.

 

“Come down, Jeff!” was her command,

Chainsaw roaring in her hand;

Jeff, despite the threat of strife,

Shook his head, refused his wife.

So the tree in which he sat

Ann chopped down, and that was that.

Jeff was felled, as was the tree;

Both passed into history.

 

Without tears – or hesitation –

Ann gave Jeff a quick cremation.

Ashes thrown far out at sea

Became marine ecology:

Jeff was food for shark and sturgeon;

Widow married young tree surgeon.

He trimmed trees from stem to stern –

And he brought home logs to burn.

 

But one fateful freezing night

Ann’s log fire burned hot and bright:

Piled too high and far too late,

Overspilled its open grate

And, whilst Ann and husband slept,

Flames across the carpet crept,

Carving out a deadly route,

Smoke detector strangely mute.

 

Through the house and up the stairs –

Ann and husband unawares –

Fire consumed all: hearth and home,

Garage, shed and garden gnome,

Young tree surgeon’s tools and van,

And the soundly sleeping Ann.

Husband, though, escaped that fate:

Woke before it was too late.

 

Not for Ann a six-foot slot

In a council graveyard plot:

Husband, by his own hard labours

In the garden (vexing neighbours)

Buried her in flower bed

With a sapling overhead.

So – delicious irony –

Ann now feeds a growing tree.

 

Photo credit: E. M. Brickey