Wait for the axe sound in the forest.
The birds wait. The lizards pause.
and wait. The creatures that are nearest
earth feel the approaching pace
measure a man. And they must wait.
Then has the time come? The dark
of forest is so solid that
its inter-growth should never break.
But has the time come? The birds
are nervous, see them flinch and turn.
The snake moves into the reeds
quickly. Danger, the signs warn.
That! Slap of an axe. Slap!
There, quick, over there. The tree
is tensed. In its green height
the possums clutch their young; they flee.
Crack again crack of slow man’s weapon,
intolerable wait for the one tree’s sake
for its grasping fall and its death to happen
and the gash in the forest, and light to break.
Now, says the axe, and the tree is fallen,
the spider crushed in its secret nest.
The late slow lives have been taken,
in the sheltering tree they have been crushed.
The accepted world is quickly broken,
the skull of the forest is opened up.
Now, means the axe. But the birds have forgotten—
there are other trees; they prepare for sleep.