A wonderful image of splendid towering trees innocent in their virgin forests, untouched by axe, unaware of their future forging of ocean-going ships. 

Love the great swinging line describing the arc of an axe ‘hurtling towards them on its parabola’, though painful to imagine the shock of the impact. 

This is from Ted Hughes’ magnificent rendition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  If you have never read Ovid’s tales, or even if you have, this will bring them (back) to life for you. 

Then the great conifers

Ruffled at home on the high hills.

They had no premonition of the axe

Hurtling towards them on its parabola.

Or of the shipyards.  Or of what other lands

They would glimpse from the lift of the ocean swell. 

No man had crossed salt water. 


Source: Ted Hughes, ‘Creation; Four Ages; Flood; Lycaon’, Tales from Ovid (London: Faber and Faber, 1997), p. 9

Photo credit: jplenio at pixabay


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