By Raymond Holden

The glittering crescent of my blade
Is stuck with juices of the tree:
There is the wound which I have made,
There are the dark boughs over me.
I swing the axe. The cones are shaken
And the shuddering tree begins to come
With ripping shrieks which might awaken
The gorged fox in his hidden home.
My blood is brightened and my eyes
Are blurred with flashes of a fire
That leaps like wind and only dies
When I have cut what I require.
The fresh chips falling in the snow
Have something for the sunny wind
Which rose a little while ago
In the old spruce forest I have thinned,
And I whose cheeks can feel it blow
Rest aching hands upon my axe
And have a desperate wish to know
What kind of flame my chimney lacks. . . .
Why covet skeletons for food
To keep a man from stiffening
With cold not made to chill the blood
Of fox’s foot or bird’s wing?

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