Thursday, 22 July 2010

Wormwood by Russell Streur

They killed the Tree of Knowledge
Poured a shire full of poison on its roots
Killed the ghost gum too
And I am walking on that street in Barcaldine
And the aspen stands are dying in the high country
And the hickory in the low
And I am walking in the forests of Quebec
Where sugar maples used to rise
And the elms are dying in the north
And the hemlock in the south
And I am walking in Croatia
Where the spruce are dying on the slopes
And the lodgepoles on the coast
And I am walking in the rust
In moth and bore and salt
Where graves replace the groves
And brittle bones of wilted dryads blow
Autumn leaves in spring
From withered copse to seedless curb
On the avenue of dead trees:

They nailed Pan last night
With seven stakes
Of birches through his heart
Raped Diana in the orchard Lass o' Gowrie
Hung up Hecate from a willow limb
Buried Odin with the oak
Blew the stump to Kingdom Come
With a Ryder full of acid rain
And poor man’s TNT
While scarlet priests in drive-by sheets
Whispered highland rosaries
Peddling holy hills and sacred roots
To grinning whores on grassy knolls
For Wal-Mart stores and interstates
Our fate to never see the gallows in this forestry
Crown triumphant
Concrete steel glass and noise
Our final kings—
Now is the hour
Wormwood sings.

Russell Streur, Georgia, USA


Kat Mortensen said...

Exceptionally well written and with the most captivating lines. Are you alluding perhaps, to C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters"?


Zaina Anwar said...

This is such a lovely poem. I enjoyed it immensely. Very well written.

Gordon Mason said...

Wow! Very powerful, from the geographical romp to the classics then updated.

(A typo in line 16?)

wretchedEarth said...

A passionate and committed indictment of the War against Life, by the Profit machine. What else can we do but cry out?