Of Plato and Higher Things


A country sophist

Spins a dream of spitting wood

From under a maple canopy.

He knows the heft of smooth strokes

Against the tree, the smell of sap,

Starts to feel in his flesh

The precisely hewn wedge.

A muse that glistens off the blade

Sparks his muscles taut

Like spinning twine.


Wrenching a last inspired blow

From its stark manila grasp

He hears the sweating crack

And surrender of the branches

Echo across the wood,

The even fall against the wind,

Sexually slow,

Dicing the sunlight down unconscious

To settle restless in its leaves.


And when he wakes, his axe

Leans against thick box-elder bark.

He peers across the knotty trunk

And up the wood to sky.

The idea ripe,

The strength of dreams

Inside his shoulders

He grips the axe and falters

From its waking weight.


His strength was in his dream,

His mind on his philosophy,

The act, beyond his arms to do

And yet, it would have been fantastic.