"The Tripped and sullen Woodsman"
Paul Rousseau 

The Tripped and sullen Woodsman
Frustrated and calm, he stands with trees
Ominous branches, each one a soul on limb
Stranded, echoed with leaves
   The trunk either thriving or poisoned at core
With his axe the devil decides
A cut and your body will do the same
And when it falls, a mortal will die

martin Mar 2012

I don't mind working on my own
It gives me time to ponder
While my body works away
My mind begins to wander

Dusty serenades the treetops
Pesky teasing squirrels
I sit on a tree stump
Pleasing little scribbles

Cut down, saw up
Cart, split stack
With a certain satisfaction
It seems to me
There's an ounce of poetry in that

"A woodsman searches the trees"

How many millions have you got
I expect you lost count
It's a hellava lot
Not forgetting the splendid yacht

An artist scans a landscape
A comic distills a joke
A shopper looks for a parking space
An addict drags on a smoke

I do what I want one thing at a time
Cumulus nimbus are flying high
Follow my nose with a healthy dose
Of common sense and instinct combined

A vicar rehearses a favourite prayer
A sailor waits on a breeze
A writer sees a story there
A woodsman searches the trees

A rich man still believes he is poor
A lost and lonely is thinking if only
Patting the chair and tapping the floor

We all go chasing a bit of fun
Fulfilment comes in different ways
Like writing a poem every day

"Us observe anther woodsman as he goes forth to choose a tree for h"
Hal Loyd Denton 

The Impress of a Passing Life

In a braided wood a story is being finished one more human life is coming to an end but let us go to the
Forest green and allegorically this tree and its origin is in the great woods of Tennessee so we step
Reverently and quietly as a silent observer but first let us see another forest close to the Atlantic coast let
Us observe anther woodsman as he goes forth to choose a tree for harvest his eye is not as an
Untrained Observer but he knows at a glance what he needs and the tree he wants and how it will serve
Two Purposes first he gathers his prize and hauls it down to the ship yard and sells it to a master
Shipbuilder He knows this woods future he has laid his claim to it he knows it will take time different
Periods of life Times he releases it to the sea it will face many a gale winds on many trade routes
Through the sea but with this experience of many days of hard ship a truly wondrous thing occurs
That ordinary piece of wood has become one of the finest trophies that wood can ever know yes those
Arduous hard crossings of many waters strained the wood gave it a depth of character its lines showed
The long days at sea it was a beauty that was rare and uncommon he purchased this same wood he sold
Those years before he took it and made a table that would be a glory to his home there is a divine
Woodsman that works in this same way step again into the woods silence greets you to the unfamiliar
Observer all seems the same all trees are the same you set listening to the birds and creaking of the
Limbs and then you notice that one of the trees has a mark on it with little bit of thought you realize
The tree is marked for harvest you fail with every attempt to see why it was chosen you see we don’t
Have the keen eye to see worth dimensions promise that has come to full identity in a life they are
Just a brother an uncle a brother-in-law the master seeking unique gifts for his dwelling cast his eye
Among earth's family when he finds that which has reached perfection then he brings it to himself
Those in this circle of life are stunned left with misgivings has He ever done a mean or cruel deed
No only those acts of special grace that defy exclamation he takes from us tender and gentle roots
Builds them into glorious golden illuminations that shine with such brightness that we are astonished
Material we had in common bond that gave to us riches He has raised them to the heights now they are
The shinning gifts that beckon us to our sweetest tomorrow so good by my fair prince as we knew and
Loved as a boy and as a man and now you are bequeathed to us in promise as he has become we to
have that noble promise we shall live again and always in the fathers presence

"before the woodsman intervened?"
John F McCullagh 

Now where were we, Wolfie
before the woodsman intervened?
Your hot fetid breath upon my neck
suggesting things obscene.
I was eager and no innocent
to try new things, I’m Keen.
That woodsman fellow was such a bore
thinking that he could keep me pure.
I knocked him out, then I made sure
he won’t disturb us anymore
So paw my scarlet robes aside
and see the treat that waits inside.
For one night only with no repeat
find out if I am good to eat.

A off take on little red Riding hood, written for a contest once sponsored by a troll
"Then along came a woodsman"
Jaime Lyn 

She was a sapling,
Small and shaded by
The branches of  
One hundred year old oak trees
Maples and Evergreens

Wilting without sunlight,
The rain never reaching the dirt around
The places she buried her roots

The sky was a dream
Clouds she could not see
Through the thickness
Of birds’ nests and tree forts
Nestled in the arms of
The great plants surrounding
The seedling, starving for sustenance

I was a sapling, dying alone
In a petrified forest
Surrounded by what seemed
Like no hope for hope
No chance for survival

Then along came a woodsman
Or so I thought
Ready to put me out of my misery
Cut me into kindling and
Burn me into my next life

But a woodsman, no
Instead he was a farmer
Come to hack and saw the trees around me
And cultivate my species

Nurturing and sacrificing
He cleared the air around me and
For the first time I found myself
Breathing in

He cut away the branches
Prison bars that held me
Back and down for so long

Released me from a doomed fate
I had nearly begun to accept and  
Because of him I drank the tears
That fell from heaven
And for the first time
Felt alive

And then one day I realized
A farmer you were not
But instead like me
You were another tree
With vines that grew towards
And with me

You brought me back to life
You know
Reminded me of why it is
I wake each morning and
Lean towards the sun
Soaking in her rays
And living

"An ancient woodsman dressed in blue"
Chris Behrens 

Once, in thirty summers past,
I walked in shadows, moonlit cast
And broke my daylong journey's fast
with sausage, honeymead and bread.

Then in among the piney trees
A sounding crash my nerves did seize
And set my rushing blood to freeze
A sounding crash to wake the dead

I stood at once and looked around
For what had made that terror-sound
and peering through the branches found
An old man working, felling trees.

Carefully, I wandered to
and brought the man back into view:
An ancient woodsman dressed in blue
with woodsmoke drifting on the breeze.

Silently, I stood there, lurking,
For a time, and watched him working
Then I hailed him, with that irking
He met me with an icy stare

He loosed his tongue and dropped his axe:
"beneath the stone and craggy cracks
slept the dragon Cathagorax
Grown old in years beyond his share."

Young Cantabridge the brave and fair
left his father's bedside care
And called to all who gathered there,
Who'll put their courage to the test?"

He cried to them, "I have a plan,
to kill this creature if I can,"
No other, single, mortal man
Would join him on his foolish quest.

And on his way, the young man going
the creature then, in dark ways knowing
Awaken-ed, his hatred growing
prepared his evil darkling cast.

Darkling words and phrases chanting
Screaming, shrieking, raving, ranting
And finally completed, panting
Settled to the ground at last.

Cantabridge stepped in the cave
his face afear-ed, grim and grave
A final warning cry he gave
among the icy water floes.

"Worm my father couldn't fell
Taste my steel and fly to hell!
Its ring will be your funeral bell
and bring your seasons to a close!"

Wings swept down and armor flashed
Claws rent flesh and hammers crashed
Contending sinews groaned and smashed
And formed a hymn of battle-cries.

Falling down, dank and muddy
Bodies broken, torn and bloody
Each warrior turned to study
Each other's watchful, waiting, eyes.

Cantabridge, with strength afleeting
By darkling magic, heart un-beating
Realizing and retreating
His victory had turned to death.

He thrashed about, his body lying
Struggling and vainly trying
Against the magic, finally dying
and with that breathed his final breath.

And in my bed, awake and dreaming
I saw a vision of him, seeming
Like a ghost with armor gleaming
Lying dead and in the sun.

So here upon this piney tree
I hammered, ere I talked with thee,
And in the valley, I could see
The fun'ral pyre for his son

In the moonlight, by the river
I searched and in the night air shivered
and for the woodsman's son delivered
a single, wild, yellow rose.

So on that night, I stood and turned
and watched them while the pyre burned
For the warrior boy who'd learned
The darkling magic a dragon knows.

"…were so…big. If it wasn’t for Larry, a woodsman working nearby, I would be dead too.”"
JM Romig 

They sat across the table from one another. One girl staring at her notebook. The other’s eyes fixed on her classmate. On the broadside of the table sat a dark haired woman, the only smiling face in the room. The shy girl’s crimson hair hung out from under her hooded sweatshirt as she sketched axes on the front of her notebook. The other girl’s golden locks hung in curls around her face. Her beauty was undeniable, as was the disdain in her eyes.
“So, can one of you two describe to me what happened today on that stairwell?” asked Mrs. White, the guidance counselor at Jacob Grimm High. Despite the gossip floating around the school about her, a smile was always plastered on her face. Most of the children found this unbearably creepy. “Nothing ma’am. We were just having a friendly conversation, when that pig came along and insisted, very forcefully, that we come here,” the blonde said, sarcastically, her eyes never letting go of their gaze on the other girl.
Mrs. White chuckled “That’s not how it happened, Goldie. C’mon, tell us your side of things.” Goldie rolled her eyes. “Well, Mrs. White, it’s like this: my bio class was just letting out, and I was heading down to calculus. She comes flying UP the DOWN stairs, like a maniac, slamming into my shoulder. I hit her, she hit me back. Now we’re here.”
“Is that true, Ms. Ridinghood?” asked Mrs. White, turning her head to the other girl.
“Not entirely,” she answered, finally joining the conversation. “Ms. Princess here was going up those stairs before I even got to them. To be honest, I was zoned out, just following the sheep. I’m not having the best day, so a friend gave me something to take the edge off this morning. I was following her up the down stairs, apparently and she turned around and started coming at me, shoving my shoulder as she walked past, then got offended – like I did something wrong – and hit me. So I punched her back. We wrestled for a minute before the rent-a-cop came and broke it up.”
“Hmm.” Mrs. White turned to Goldie, who was looking down the floor. “Goldie, why were you going back up the stairs?” ,
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“So you did go back up the stairs and come down a second time?”
“It was actually my third time,” Goldie admitted, embarrassed. “The first time I went too fast, the second time I went too slow. That time would have been just right. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder . Go ahead, laugh it up.”
“No one’s laughing,” Mrs. White assured her. Although Red was a little, until Mrs. White turned to her. “Can you tell me why it is you needed to be ‘zoned out’ today?”
“None of your business, that’s why,” Red snapped.
“I have read your file, I know what day it is.”
“Then why did you have to bring it up?” Red was now agitated.
“For Goldie to hear. So you can better understand one another.”
“Bullshit! What kind of understanding am I to get from this preppy bitch with a silver spoon up her ass? I’ve spit puddles deeper than her!” The two girls rose up, over the table. Mrs. White was able to get in between them.
“Now, both of you need to just calm down and talk this out like civil adults. Keep in mind, this is your only alternative to expulsion. “
Once everyone regained themselves, Red spoke again, this time directly to Goldie.
“Six years ago, today, my grandmother was murdered.” Goldie began to see Red with new eyes. “Remember The Wolf
“That guy who went around vandalizing houses?” ?”
“Yeah. He was hiding out in the woods. I was going to visit my grandma, who lived out that way. I saw him. He’d shaved so I hadn’t recognized him from the news. I told him I was going to my grandma’s place, dumb idea—I know. He suggested a different route, said it’d be shorter. By the time I got there, grams was gone. He was in her bed, dressed like her, waiting for me. His eyes…were so…big. If it wasn’t for Larry, a woodsman working nearby, I would be dead too.”
“I heard about that! That was you? Wow…I’m sorry. ” Goldie shook her head in amazement, then added, “Didn’t the woodsman chop off his head?”
“No. He shot him. Larry carries a gun when he’s working in that forest, because of all the dangerous things that happen there.”
“No doubt, that place is freaky. I got lost in it once, when I was six. I ended up at this cabin. I thought it was abandoned. Imagine my surprise when the family came home. I was sleeping in the kid’s bed, and I’d eaten their food too. I think I even broke something.”
“How’d that play out?”
“I did some time in juvy for property damage and theft.”
“Wow…that’s so messed up. At least you learned your lesson, right?”
“Oddly enough, no. When I turned eleven I started breaking into people’s houses. I mean, I didn’t take anything, just slept in their beds, or watched TV. I never got caught again.” Goldie sounded mildly disappointed.
“You know,” Red interjected “we are a couple of freaks, aren’t we?”
“Yeah. Hey…where did Mrs. White go?” Goldie said, finally realizing that Mrs. White had made an escape somewhere in the midst of their discussion.
“I don’t know.”
“Oh well…did you hear she has seven midgets living with her?”
“That’s just a rumor,” Red said.
On that note, the bell rang, and the two girls left the room giggling like old friends.

This short story originally appeared in Issue 1 of the now defunct "The Platypus : Kent State Ashtabula's Journal of The Arts"

Copyright © 2011 J.M. Romig. All rights reserved
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