Whose Woods These Are We Think

When they ask “What are you working on now that the elements

are finished” i say the elements are never finished; in China they

have metal, in India they have ether, in the West we are short on

time. Wood has also been named as an element. In Euro fairy

tales, children are sent into the woods, probably the Black Forest,

carrying baskets covered with cloth made by child laborers just as

factories are beginning. When i first read the Frost snowy woods

piece as a desert child in the 60s, i experienced a calm as he enters

the whose woods these are he thinks he knows, though i didn’t

know that many woods in Tucson or a little horse thinking it queer

or a village. What would it have been like to be sent out with a

small covered basket if you were a peasant child into what we now

call the ecotone, the region between two environments— a marsh

with striped frogs for example— then on into the woods where a

peasant uprising is being planned.

                     We have sent them all into the woods

                     We have sent them all into the woods

                     We have sent them all into the woods

& we know exactly whose thin logged-out woods these are. What

do people need from poetry during the changes? The changes are

immeasurable. Perception, form, & material locked into the

invisible. Many need calm poetry, especially at weddings where

they feel uneasy, & i would certainly write that way if i believed

calm were key to any of it, but if what woods are left are lovely,

dark, deep, they are also oblique, obscure, magical, owned for

profit, full of fragile unnamed species, scarce on time, time that

barely exists though people base their lives on imagining it does. i

hoped to find some wisdom to send back to you & that is what i

am working on now, my present hopeful wild & unknown

friends…

 

 

 

 

(This poem is an ekphrastic haibun.)