The Woodcutter Tree

Voice Card  -  Volume 18  -  Stuart Card Number 8  -  Sat, Jan 19, 1991 5:13 PM

After a hiatus last issue, we are back to presenting poems from THE BODY BESTIARY. With the poems presented in Archipelago issue #15, we are now halfway through the book.

In the current issue we begin the poems that make up "Part Three" of the manuscript. This section is entitled "The Tales of Princess Waterfall and Her Daughter, Fathered by Moonlight, Moonlit Lake (The Tapestries of Desire)" and is the longest section in the book.

It deals with the main narrative thread in this tapestry of stories - the love of the The Duchess Of Moisture for the character called Moonlight. He is in turn in love with The Princess Waterfall, and they have a child together named Moonlit Lake. This section deals with these events and with The Duchess' revenge after having her love spurned.

There are also a number of new characters revealed in this section. The one who stars in the following poem is a character I'm rather fond of, "The woodcutter Tree." This is a character who was once a woodcutter but who has been turned into a tree.

The following poem is his story, as narrated by THE BODY BESTIARY'S main witness, or narrator, Uncle Caterpillar. The poem is entitled "Where I Write Down What I Understand of the Tree's Language: The Woodcutter Turned Into a Tree" (you may want to expand the text field to the whole screen to get the proper lineation of the poem):

"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. . ."