Voicing the Woods

I said I had the tree. It wasn’t true.
The opposite was true. The tree had me.

                                              Robert Frost (from Wild Grapes)

1. It always seemed the trees could talk,
the wind in the branches a tongue the birds knew.
But underground was surprising–
the deep-throated sounds of earthworms
and the warnings.
If one tree is dying
the others reach up in preparation,
the squirrels’ nests swaying
and they too
want another spring,

2. Breaking open the chestnut’s spiky pod
to find that smooth, brown, one-eyed seed–
a gift to roast or just keep.
A secret in my dresser drawer,
it mingles with the evil-eye beads
from Greece.

3. The hunter has stolen my woods,
where the hillside slopes into sumac bush
and the bike path we challenge each other
to go faster down.
Such a slope.
The rifle shots in the distance mean
stay out now.
Even with bright orange
you could transform,
as in Greek mythology,
into a deer.

4. Some worry about the sound
a tree makes falling, alone or together,
the adventure of logs.
We don’t need much wood now.
We can burn other things and still whittle twigs.
We see the forest for what it is–
the only way to travel
the path to one more day.



Poem by Skaidrite Stelzer


Skaidrite Stelzer is a citizen of the world whose poetry has appeared in Glass, Struggle, The Baltimore Review, Storm Cellar, and many other journals. Her chapbook, “Digging a Moose from the Snow,” is recently published by Finishing Line Press. She enjoys cloud shapes. https://displacedpersonblog.wordpress.com/