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Chris Crittenden: Two Poems

Battle of Trees | Words

Battle of Trees

trees have been embattled so long,
wielding various blades,
they have forsaken scabbards
and simply thrust,
not one direction but as many
as a giant can impale with
a trunkful of arms. everywhere
lies the source of their ferocious greed:
gold on the helmets, gold
on the boughs, lucre
dappling a tattered earth,
and miserly green
poking out to clutch.

now wrens are faster
than buckshots of seed,
and chainsaws mow like whips.
now humans are dumb mages
strolling outside of time,
babbling about wilderness
in a stalled slaughter.
the old pugilists are not
nearly as agile as
a bear trap or the bark of remingtons.
finally, the green wars will be concluded
by a new, swift violence
incomprehensible to the wrath
of a pine.


they live for a toddler, a stroke victim,
or the rare moment of sobbing prayer,
when someone invokes them, begs them,
needs them as much as god. but mostly
the words trip lonely, somersaulted off
gangways that taste what they reach for—
tangerine, grape, honey—reach for but never know.
the words follow Tantalus forever,
cries slipping away from the womb forever,
and no one cares that they are orphans
without a map except their own dim light.

whenever they can, they escape
the hungry books and computer tombs.
then, sopped in weather, aloof
as cirri or intimate as storms, they
sail amid skyscrapers and grease pits,
seeking a home.

Poet's Biography:
  Chris Crittenden's publications include Blue Unicorn, Flyway, Atlanta Review, The Cafe Review, and Shades of December. He believes poets are prophets, and teaches ethics part-time at the University of Maine at Machias.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.