Sayre is a Welsh name meaning “woodcutter.” It is also the maiden name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda.
Do the men who live in the forest get scared at night when the wind howls through the chilled air and the leaves crackle and the branches creep and sway? When the sky’s lantern flickers shadows that whirl above, below, and on their skin, their hands? Elusive creatures, ideas escape their grasp no matter how hard they close their eyes, no flashlights to make out the truth.
Do we share the fright of the unknown when we look out into the same darkness?
Or maybe these men who’ve left our world, our collective values, don’t flinch or wonder. Maybe they’ve spent that in exchange for living under the blanket of space. Maybe that is the price.
Does the man who lives under the piles of pine bark stacked high into a hut under the shade of the ponderosa one quarter klick from the road, one and one half klicks from my house, think about these things? Does he wonder about life inside our neighborhood like I wonder about life outside it? Does he stare but try hard to not look too closely like I do? Does he yearn for the security of controlled weather inside or laugh at our false sense of it?
What keeps him calling the stack of twigs that blend into the unnoticed – (except maybe by eyes that are looking for things unseen) – home – alone?
Does he worry about what he doesn’t have or find gratitude in the unremarkableness of place, hiding in plain sight, not seen by most people who drive by every day in a rush here or there? Has he escaped having time as his master or is he just denying our shared reality?
No matter how differently we see the stars, the breeze, the snow, the trees, the months, our place; no matter if we’ll never see each other’s face or shoes or outlook; no matter if we don’t know any names the same; no matter if our ends will be years apart and lifetimes will be led with opposing goals but maybe shared fears; when all is said and done, we are both controlled the same by the seconds of existence.
*This essayistic poem is part of the Telepoem Booth project as “The man in the forest.”