Wood Men

Wood Men

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

We dropped down into the forest on

A Friday afternoon,

Myself and a team of Dendronauts

Left peering through the gloom,

Our Dirigible had failed, and crashed

Right through the canopies,

We found ourselves on the forest floor,

Staring up at the trees.


There wasn’t a lot of growth down there

Just dead and dying waste,

The canopy so thick, the sunlight

Couldn’t penetrate.

‘Now what do we do?’ howled Carol Timms,

‘We’re eighty miles from base…’

The hole we’d punched in the canopy

Had closed, left barely a trace.


‘They’ll send a party out to search,’

Said Doctor Avignon,

But nobody spoke, we feared the worst,

We knew that he was wrong.

‘Can somebody climb the highest tree?’

Said the pilot, Andrew Young,

The trees were a hundred and fifty feet

Where the canopy overhung.


‘We’ll have to walk,’ said Gordon Tombs,

‘We’ll have to leave the ship,

We might just come on a clearing where

The trees are spread a bit,

They often fall in the monsoon rains

When the ground is waterlogged,

The roots are shallow and rip right out

Where the ground becomes a bog.’


He shouldn’t have mentioned that fateful word

For the rain came teeming down,

Down in streams from the canopy

So we thought that we might be drowned,

Then with the rain there came the heat,

So humid, Carol cursed,

‘We’re going to sweat or drown down here,

I don’t know which is worse.’


So Tombs led off with a compass that

He had, with keys on his ring,

‘If we head due east we might get out,

We have to try something!’

In minutes we were soaked, and steam

Was rising from our clothes,

The mud was forming underfoot

And the smell was on the nose.


We sludged our way for an hour or two

‘Til Carol Timms had cried,

‘I can’t go on, I’m not so strong,

My legs feel like they’ve died!’

Then up ahead there were cobwebs linking

Every root and tree,

And caught in the web were shrivelled bats,

How big would the spiders be?


We cut and we hacked our way through these,

They clung at every step,

But Andrew had some sort of a fit

And he couldn’t catch his breath.

A spider, big as a dinner plate

Was clinging to his back,

He screamed just once, then dropped to the ground

With a fatal heart attack.


The Doctor stumbled and gashed his arm

On the bark of a giant tree,

And sap was mingling with his blood

Before he pulled it free,

Then Tombs leant back on a mildew patch

And it stung, and clung to his skin,

‘I have a terrible feeling, Guys,

We’ll never get out,’ said Timms.


We left Andrew, and we walked on through

The web, ‘til the Doctor cried,

‘I feel some terrible thing is growing

Here on my arm, inside.’

We looked at the arm of Avignon

And the skin looked just like bark.

While Tombs was growing a mildew patch

Up from his hand, in the dark.


His fingers were sprouting shoots and leaves

At an ever increasing pace,

‘By God, we’ve got to get out of here

For the sake of the human race.’

‘There’s things down here that shouldn’t be,’

Cried Carol Timms in fear,

Then began to tear off her sodden clothes

In a fit of hysteria.


A tribe of ants ran over her skin,

Were biting her red and raw,

I beat them off as she screamed, but others

Streamed on up from the floor,

In minutes she was stripped to the bone

And sank to the ground and died,

I turned to run, with Avignon,

With Tombs ahead as a guide.


We found a spot where the trees were felled

A clearing, long and wide,

A hole was torn in the canopy

I could see a storm-lit sky,

But Avignon was sprouting leaves

And some fungal type of rot,

For then the tendrils under his feet,

Rooted him to the spot.


While Tombs was growing a fungus, green

All over his hands and face,

It grew so fast, I couldn’t believe,

But I knew he’d lost his race.

It sprouted out, all over his tongue

And choked at the back of his throat,

As he fell and died, I thought he sighed,

But all that was left was his coat.


The chopper found me, dropped me a line,

I was left a gibbering wreck,

I couldn’t answer their questions then,

I doubt I could answer them yet!

I’d seen men basically turned to wood,

I’d seen one turn to a tree,

So didn’t know whether I’d dare to show

The fungus that’s growing in me!


David Lewis Paget

© 2013 David Lewis Paget

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Featured Review

Hardly find any adjective to qualify your work.The expedition in a poem! Bravo! The wander off in a peculiar place could certainly lead to the fate you wrote.I am just spellbound by your rythm and fluidity by which it gets into our mind and occupies.The Dendronauts must have cursed the crash.The climax even did'nt spare you.The sprouted fungus and leaves around whole body makes it impactful.It ever inspires me to think something new.KEEP WRITING.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


This Orem is fabulous!!!! You are amazing .....how do you think of these story's....you are a great poet,

Posted 3 Years Ago

I have read this 3 times and each time I see something more--feel something different. Can you imagine them making a movie out of this. A sci-fi type or they could use my internet service--I think its possessed.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Scary stuff with a tinge of comedy lovely......

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This poem reads like the TV mini series about the amazon river expedition. You also give the reader a chance to think at the end...
Great read David and a story to keep the bulldozers out of the forest, if it could only be true.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Good story....

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nightmares are born from these poems. Nature reclaims it place and the world someday will cease to exist. Once mankind dies the growth will over take the building and make tombs of our cities. I know because my garden does it every year! Ever plant mint. Just saying. Anyway, another great poem David. Chilling.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nice twist at the end.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Deliciously scary! I agree w/ Tate-this wood (pun intended) make a great movie ;-)

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow. As you read this it really springs to life in your mind. A wonderful tale that entrances you and forces you to keep reading just so you know what comes next. This is superbly written. Thank you for sharing!

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

That would be a great movie and since it is set in the fairly present day i think I would love to see it./ maybe a ww2 deringable or the hindenberg. Great stuff

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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17 Reviews
Added on January 25, 2013
Last Updated on January 25, 2013
Tags: Dendronauts, canopy, fungus, forest


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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