Man and axe, a two-edged curse,
hew a landscape in reverse;
the ringbarked trees their dry-bones show
like bone-white roots of trees below,
trees of a lawny underland;
through dew-ribbed leaves like wings outfanned
such swags of fruits and blossom glow
as Rubens’ cornucopias show.
Butterflies stitch nervous mesh
across a turf as deep as flesh;
its fibres—up—are frugal tares
tattered and torn by shrapnel airs.
Hills that heat’s delirium shakes
brim, reversed, with riesling lakes
whose moss-green tides are leached-out stains
from carbonized and fissured plains.
Leather man with hare-lean flanks
seeks on the piebald, bare-back banks
for rose-water rain, for all that lacks,
and curses the curse—himself, his axe.
© Hal Porter