Two Poems by Fred Longworth

The Art of Innocence

Instinctively aware that the pith
of lies contains potent endorphins,
while pulps of truth are often laced
with bitters, you face that enormous tree
looming over the backyard.

There's something seductive in the leaves,
the muscled frame, the lush red
fruits. No matter. Chainsaw in hand,
you fell it, cut it up, burn the fragments
in an open pit.

It starts to rain - warm, gentle -
not the sweat of the earth's hard work,
but the misty breath of simplicity.
You sink into the natural order,
like a seed into the mud.


I Told the Audience

war was occasionally necessary
because adversaries could behave
like a pack of wolves, menacing
the village, devouring stray
children, the sick, the elderly -
whoever was vulnerable.
And there could be no reasoning
with wolves - you simply had to
stop them. The audience circled
me, and bared their substantial
teeth. They howled that never
should humans be compared
to wolves. I was young, not yet
strong. What could I do?
I followed them into the woods.

Fred Longworth