Sunday, September 10, 2017

Living Fences

by Suzanne Cottrell                                                                  

Red River Valley natives
Served as prairie borders
Desired, functional, respected
Osage orange trees

Branches bowed, interwoven
Burly, protective thorns
Excessively furrowed bark
Dense, sturdy hardwood
Disease, pest, rot resistant
Lemon-yellow heartwood

Female trees bore softball-sized,
Lime, warty fruit, hedge apples
Grooved, resembling human brains
Fleshy sphere with sticky, milky sap
Multitude of husk-wrapped seeds
Squirrels’ prized snacks

Replaced by barbed wire,
Electric fences
Now obsolete, undesired,
Yard’s nuisance


  1. Suzanne, This poem gives the reader so much insight not only to the tree and it attributes, but to human nature as well. Once a prized tree with a noble purpose; now, replaced by something engineered by humans. Cold and harsh.

  2. Cool poem. Made me do some research - and thank you for that. As fencing, Osage orange was described as "horse high, bull strong and pig tight."

  3. Suzanne, your writing is so descriptive that I always learn so much and can visualize the objects as I'm reading your poems! Nicely done!