The Woodcutter Tree

Voice Card  -  Volume 16  -  Stuart Card Number 8  -  Sat, Aug 25, 1990 3:04 PM

Now for another poem from the Body Bestiary. If you have been following the procession of poems from this tapestry, know that we are now at the beginning of the third section of the manuscript, a section entitled "The Tales of Princess Waterfall and Her Daughter, Fathered by Moonlight, Moonlit Lake (The Tapestries of Desire)." This section chronicles what happens when The Duchess of Moisture seeks revenge against Moonlight, who has run off with Princess Waterfall.

But this first poem of the section mentions none of that. It simply tells the story of a woodcutter who has had the experience of being turned into a tree. It is entitled, "Where I Write Down What I Understand of the Tree's Language: The Woodcutter Turned Into a Tree" (Once again, you'll want to expand the text field so that the lines won't seem all kafooey):

"Regrets? No. In my hair the bright birds choir,
Flowers float midst my lichened bark; my heart
Lives there, its helve honed here. . . . ; am I a shire
For the wasp? A limbate to the ivy's art?
To everything, yes. . . ; what hops through my domed
Canopy? . . . . Caterpillar, come, what have you to fear? . . .
Once I man-slept under trees that bloomed;
Their branches braided the moon; then the ants reared
Me through the crackling leaves. . . ; when I settled
Into the soft, damp earth worms wove the caul
They wrapped me in. . . ; I think my speech seems addled
To you, a hiss of a burning sapling. . . ; Fall,
And my leaves blush to the sun's light; like wands
My branches wave in these sweet, last summer winds. . ."