Too-Close Crimson Trees…Fear

“A word and photo prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  Use the prompts separately or together.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Word Prompt Fear”

Sammi Cox, author/photo


I still see, feel it as a grove of too-close

Dark crimson trees, their airless heat singeing,

Imprisoning me…blood’s black-red fear

Of this stranger, my mother, who openly

Despised me; controlled me with consuming

Fright that taught me much.

Striving to be “unseen and not heard”,

I learned to take breaths oh-so-shallow;

To move without apparent motion, static as

Wallpaper; to weep without wails; clench my

Jaw against unbidden words which would be

Deemed impertinent—no matter their

Innocence, ignorance, or truth.

To be afraid of one who gave you life—

All day, each day, and every night—short-circuits

Brain’s wiring, melts insulators, so that nothing

In the world is perceived as safe, trustworthy.

Mental-emotional abuse, neglect of nurture

Burn unseen scars…with long-term ramifications. 

They leave a child stunted—no sense of true identity,

Self-confidence.  The ability to learn is compromised,

Followed by swelling fear of responsibility:

How could I concentrate to excel in school;

Learn social skills to be accepted by peers;

Or ever drive a car; maintain employment to

Support myself; choose a stable, loving spouse;

Or even imagine having children myself?

The fear, and its accompanying hurt never left me. 

To a significant degree, I yet live in the too-close,

Suffocating red trees…unable to walk out.

I still feel the full-body-quaking terrors:

Sometimes when wind blows through branches,

I hear her shark-teeth-tearing words—barbed

Voice that stings like hailstorm on bare skin.

Sometimes she echoes in the thunder…death did

Not muffle her…she returns some nights, in dreams.

Faith is my comfort—but it doesn’t erase,

Eradicate cruel ghost of my mother.


The red leaves glow in September, God’s

Reminder that He selected that season

For my birth; intended it to be

Bright-beautiful celebration of promise.

And for that reason, His creative love unique,

He surrounds me daily with His song*

That while autumn leaves fall, I will not;

I’ll overcome winter’s sleep, be resurrected

To see glorious Cherry Blossoms in spring;

Hear wind chimes dance in summer trees…

My heritage assured, God’s precious daughter,

I’ll gleam like a field of forget-me-knots, sapphire’d.

©Jael Sook, 2017 All rights reserved.

New American Standard Bible
*You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.  Psalm 32:7

Psalm 31:20
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.

Psalm 9:9
The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble;

Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 119:114
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

Psalm 121:7
The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.

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26 thoughts on “Too-Close Crimson Trees…Fear

  1. Hey Jael,

    A powerfully emotive poem beautifully composed and expressed with the self-assured radiance of one who now knows of only victory in their still beating heart. Thank you for sharing your gift of words with me 🙂

    Will you be submitting to Sammi’s challenge over the weekend?

    May I just say, if I owned the chair in the image above, I would be the happiest bunny ever! It is exquisite in ways I could not describe without taking actual ownership of it and having it inspire those words for itself 🙂 The lampshade hanging above is also very fetching on the eye. Sadly I do not have a room large enough to adequately accommodate or accept such beautiful furniture. One day I might, but then again we can all dream 🙂

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Take care in all ways always.

    Namaste 🙂



    • Thank you for reading, and for your lovely comment. As for the chair image, since no one knows what God’s throne really looks like, I had to imagine where He might enjoy a visit with me–though my home is far from gracious, I welcome His presence daily 🙂 I’ve not looked at the new writing challenge yet–I’m way behind on prompts, after a summer illness. Thanks again for your visit here–Blessings to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Jael,

        It is my pleasure 🙂 Thank you for beautiful script and sight of the chair from which you sit sharing a single seat with your ever-present house guest. I’m sure your gracious heart affords a most splendid welcome and your hospitality is second to none…tis why the colours of Love centre your room, because Love centres your heart 🙂

        As curious as I always am – I hope you do not mind me asking, thank you – the table to the right of the chair is inlaid with a star. What is the nature of this star? Is it symbolic or decorative and without intended meaning? I count perhaps 8 points? That would mean something very special to me.

        I am saddened to hear of your recent period of ill-health Jael. I trust you have convalesced or are continuing to do so with excellent gains being made each day. From what you have penned here your solid faith is an immoveable bedrock upon which you stand defiant and certain: in all weathers tethered and tied and deep-rooted. I admire the steely strength in you Jael…the unquenchable fire that burns relentlessly in your hearth: the fire next to which God sits sharing his chair with you and telling mighty tales 🙂

        Until next time…take care in all ways for always. have a wonderful weekend!

        Namaste 🙂



  2. I’m glad you posted this Jael – not only because it may, after a thousand times, ease some of the pain and trauma – but because it honours you – in some way, because only you can do that, by allowing yourself the pain and then, as you’ve very brilliantly done, transformed it – at least, in some way.

    This is a powerful piece – the first stanza hard, gripping, taut and painful – but the second speaks of hope, trust, faith – ongoing yes? – but for you, some transformation/ transmutation / alchemy – and that is healing – in process. And the second stanza is equally powerful – so that’s an added bonus and blessing.

    Kudos to you – and may you find the small ways to keep healing and trying, and finding strength and courage 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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