The herders of beasts and all the bakers,
smiths and farmers and traders and traitors
to the brink of the hamlet came. Smoky day:
mud cleaving to feet, faint lowing, cow stool falling,
clutch of children coughing; few others bawling,
and standing before them their leader decreed:
"We are being stripped and stripped in a
deepening winter which we do not heed.
The belly’s skin is exposed already,
and a ruddy shiver scribbles over it a scroll, reading:
famishment, though presently it’s plump, and the great tree
in the forest’s midst has fallen which we
once thought could not be felled by any wind.
"And people see it lying on its side
and only have this to say:
“So it was not such a great tree after all”
And there are others who say to them:
“But you always disbelieved it was great when you
did not wish to nourish its roots”,
while still some others say:
“But both your tree-talk is an overbearing curse
and we must all amalgamate into
a new talk.” And still some silent others
with sore stressed bones, in blackening winds which cut
their vision off like monolithic stage drapes,
plant saplings without a word."
"So, the task at hand, you folks, standing on this hill:
which one to be hailed, which one to be hoodwinked,
which one to be misrepresented and which one to be killed?"