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Originally appeared in Issue No. 8

 

 
    
  
 
     
    
  
 

Scott Edward Anderson

  

Two Views

Ya know, I wouldn't fall a tree with them in it. But I sure like to tell them that.
I just get lippy. I get fired up... you tell them anything.

                                                — Arlington Earl "A.E." Ammons

I.
 
How tall you are,
longer than my life here
among these blades and oil.
Felled, you might be half
the length of a football field,
yet I can't get inside of you.
Somewhere in there
past the cambium,
is a beam so straight
it could support my two kids
about to enter college.
Dead-standing,
you're a condo complex
for invertebrates.
Heartwood shipped overseas,
waste wood pulped
then glued together again,
you'll make a sturdy chair.
You are mine, I made you.
If I leave you,
you too will leave.

II.
 
I can hear you breathing.
Breath like hundred-year-old men,
who've counted their lives in cigarette packs--
Your phloem constricts,
there are knots in your shoulders
no massage could work out.
My hands are stained a guilty
cadmium red, as
I brand the yellow Cats®
on their hind-quarters,
feed sugar into their gas tanks.
Unlike horses, they don't
nibble my fingers.
You have stood for ages;
no one alive has seen you
in your youth. No one can
approximate your providence.
Your levelers,
we too are leveled.
I cannot leave your side,
but you would crush me
if I broke your fall.

In memoriam:
David Nathan Chain, 1974-1998

 

 

The Glimmerglass

Being a sequence of stanzas concerning Lake Otsego ("The Glimmerglass"), which forms the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, in Cooperstown, New York.

The bats skim
over the evening ripples
of Lake Otsego.
In their blind minds
they see reflection.

The curious mountains
meld with their image
in the looking-glass.
In their obvious stillness
they decline comment.

Dancers moving
into shadow,
taken aback in melancholy.
Through the window
witness falling water.

Dark, silent wood
balancing the four corners
of a creative room.
Movements negotiating
the rhythm of the earth.

The moon rises
from behind the back
of the Sleeping Lion,
turns her face
to the glimmering star.

Lime-colored duckweed
splays patterns
on the marsh water,
red sky corn-dancing
on Sydney's Hill.

The sun sets
behind the Webster Farm.
As it falls deeper,
clouds pass in the haze.

Freshly harvested,
farmer Webster's hay
is baled the following day-
the secrets of summer heat,
revealed & thoughtful.

Two good friends
distracted in conversation,
over cigarettes & coffee.
Time continues passing.

Speckled cows, curious sheep
freckle the hills.
Feed corn grows;
long-awaited
tenacity of rain,

much needed-
giving way
to a sun-doused
day of departure.
Farewells, soaked sleeves.

for Sam Goodyear

 

  

Day of the Earth, Night of the Locusts

Owlspent, our days are numbered,
we count them in their passing
with eyes closed, and night comes
easily to those who sleep
with blinded eyes wide open.
And double-talk is all we get
from those whose hands hold fate.

In the larkspur
at the grove's end,
pagan by rite,
we suss the folly of symbolism
and awaken
to the owl's haunting.

Eyespeak, our gods implore us
to look beyond our smugness.
And there, we find
our temples
are burdened by wreckage
and our own misdeeding.

Do we good justice by our actions:
Uneducated stewards, electable
guardians of a lackluster paradise.
The apples bruise to the grasses,
blades fat as a night-sweat.
The others have little say,
our own descent is a cant-

The question is:
Can we be faithful stewards
when there is no bounty?

   

Scott Edward Anderson is an award-winning poet, writes The Green Skeptic blog, manages the Changemakers lens on Squidoo and the Social Entrepreneurship group on Gather.com, and works for a global conservation organization.
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