The Battleground

The slashing blades strike fierce and deep
The newly stricken fall down in heaps.
In vain: the foe storms back enraged,
The scythe-like swords remain engaged.

The rampaging hordes beat with passion;
Blade-wielders reply in their own fashion.
Undaunted, the enemy tries once more,
The swords, unstinting, produce more gore.

Midst all the blind, untrammeled fury:
No truce; no peace; no judge or jury.
No quarter given and none received
Is all the mad ones could conceive.

At last, Thor, god of heaven has been sated.
The roiling thunder stills; abated.
Long sought peace returns to earth
And wipers return to windshield berths.


The Arborist

He stands alone atop a tall, tall tree
Athwart a strong bough with vines entwined.
Not human but of another breed;
An arboreal elf with a fearless mind.

His sinewy hand holds tight a noisy ax
A gas-powered chain on a metal blade
That’s used for his relentless tree attacks
To change a mighty forest into a glade

Beneath him stretches a rising lofty stile
The beam of a window that frames the sky
And with its fellows forms a peristyle
Flanked by green drapery on either side.

Ensconced is he within a spry village
Of blue jays and black birds with red adorned.
Patrolled by scootering, squirrely pillagers
Christmas treed with strings of dangling acorns

No joy he takes from all this woodland scene.
There’s work to do and not all day to do it
He starts his trusty coughing cutter keen
It kicks and expectorates a smoky spit.

Swing left, swing right the gnashing, grinding mill
With spumes of dust atwirl and high-pitched snarl
Takes down the airy tree-house from roof to sill
The wreckage spirals down to low-lying marl.

A mighty tree is no longer tall,
The giant has been decapitated.
Brave elf is still held in destruction’s thrall;
The hungry guillotine has not been sated.

On and on the battler madly smashes,
Below and below the devastation.
Bough after bough converted to trash
Limb follows limb, victim to amputation

At last the final dreadful cut is made,
The lofty tabernacle lies prone;
Its trunk bare beside the oozing plate
That once was bottom to a large green zone

Embedded within the roiled leaf-strewn soil
A coterie of acorns lies hidden and mired,
Remnants of the mad recent turmoil,
The children resurgent of the parent expired.


Ken Kenigsberg is a poet living on Long Island.

Featured Image: “Revolt in Cairo” by Anne-Louis Girodet (1767-1824)

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