Friday, 26 March 2021

The Wood Conductor





There was no sign of a woodcutter 
in the tin shack raised from the red earth,
the black wood of an archived forest.
Dismembered trees haunted the air,
ghosts in the pungency of cut pine. 

A tepid cup sat by a soiled plate
and a radio murmured, low music 
both there and not, a particle of time.
The businessman walked on rutted mulch:
sawdust, wood chips, a chainsaw’s rainbow.

A great stack of trunks lay seasoning,
patient for the weather to do its work,
sap congealing, slow as a slug’s largo.
Below a tarp shelter a wheel of teeth
stood idle by a pyramid of logs.

A robin hopped and sang, leading him
to the buzz-cut limit of the yard 
where chestnuts murmured their faith 
in the promise of approaching summer 
and two magpies rattled like maracas.

His black Oxfords were crusted with mud 
and a spurt of the timber-yard’s filth 
wrote a warning  up his pin-striped leg: 
Leave. Leave now!  
He loosened his tie, removed his jacket,

rolled his thick shoulders as if wriggling 
from a chrysalis, detaching his spine.
The robin was still singing loudly,
music not written in ink on a stave,
but in the helix of the bird’s DNA.

He stepped onto a flat topped stump
and with a thin wand began conducting
the sounds, a fugue concealed in the tune
from the cutter’s radio, the bird’s song, 
all the wild woodwind of the forest.




First published in text form 2/21 at Open Arts Forum ‘Front Page’ 
and in video form 1/21 at Ink, Sweat and Tears.




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