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"Drought and the Woodsmen" by John Horváth Jr


Title image shows a sattelite view of the whole Earth, with the northern hemisphere covered in snow.

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Published September 1, 2021

Drought and the Woodsmen

by John Horváth Jr
(Jackson, Mississippi, USA)

We have arrived like summer's clouds
you've seen approach, amass, then drift
slowly off as you wonder
  "when will it rain?"

We were once a nation
who wove life from the grass
plains-- its fibers our own
and its tinctures our own--
before crescent sword
and the cities drew near.
We were once a nation
of neighbors and friends
who uplifted from towns
to forests of tall timber
we wasted on homes become
houses then, fallen to ruin,
torn down; replaced in the west
further then further again away
from where we had come, down-
trodden, afflicted, homeless
starving for pine and elm--
renegade hard woods and soft,
miscreant carpenter's all of us.

We were once a nation
of fine cabinets, filials crafter,
now we are splintered cheap
process of sawdust compressed.
We were once a nation of axes
and muscles, wrought-iron wedges,
unfactoried tendons and sinew;
now we are soft walkers beneath
the canopies of tree farms, evenly
spaced lovers of plastic.

Mississippian John Horváth Jr has published internationally since the 1960s (recently in Munyori Review (Zimbabwe); Broad River Review (print). Pink Litter, and Olentangy Review). After Vanderbilt and Florida State universities, "Doc" Horváth taught at historically Black colleges. From 1997 to 2020, to promote contemporary international poetry, Horváth edited www.poetryrepairs.com.

Previously published in Wax International:
"You Married an Ice Skater" by John Grey

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