A local landmark, taller than a man,
it stands as if on guard on a Roman road
where a path takes off between trees.
Hockney picked out this character, painted it
as a rugged torso in magenta and blue
with scar circles which could almost be eyes.
It holds out short benevolent arms, seems
to give audience to saplings on striped grasses
and people who travel from afar to pay homage.
Who came in the silent night with a chainsaw
and can of red paint, sweated to butcher it,
strewed the remains round the raw stump?
No way to resurrect the hefty trunk. Minor,
this piece of vandalism when violence
blooms every day but its slaughter haunts me.
from Myra’s latest collection, Lifting the Sky (Ward Wood Publishing, 2018)
© 2018, Myra Schneider