Collected Poems 5
New England Woods
He rushed by the woodshed,
Hens picking near the fence,
To fetch the axe he carried down the slope
Taking shortcuts where the road wormed
Until he reached the silent clearing.
His eye greeded on that perfect beech tree
A survivor of spring's felling.
Its sheen of smooth flexed strength,
Defiant erectness he walked over to,
Head upright, and slew
With fierce deep blows at even angles
Until the crackle sounded
That splittered down through consciousness
In fissures of remorse
That drove him from unhampered sun
To the cover of trees with low-slung branches
To hide under.
The searchers found him cowering there
But said nothing,
While waiting for the father to arrive.
Wearing a black leather coat
Reining furious dogs in on leashes
Held taut in clutched fists, leather gloved.
He calmed them
And knelt down before his son
Who was looking at the ground
And lifted his face to his.