Wednesday, December 30, 2020



I went searching in the forest of red pines,
And soon strayed off the bridle trail,
All wet, muddied, horse-worn.
I veered off into the frozen matting
Of quilted ferns and leaves.
My boots made a sound of a fist clenching in leather gloves
As my mind conjured its own path through the leaning trees.

Along the way I came upon a lone conifer seedling
Frail and wobbly in the undergrowth.
Who am I? I asked it.
I’ll never see the day when
This little guy joins the canopy.
As my grandparents missed my degrees,
My marriages, my fatherhood, my now.
I am this little tree
In all its fragile immediacy.
I am its regal swaying pine
That I won’t survive to ever see.

The paths I envision always lead to the river.
I pick my way carefully to the very edge
Of a craggy cliff overlooking the rushing water
Swollen with snow melt and recent rain;
A roar of jailhouse escape,
Trench war slaughter.
I sink my boots into the earth
Slippery with pine needles and ice
And then lean out, stanchioned against a thick belly of bark.

Desire must be like the river
That wends its way downhill,
Careening over rocky declivities,
Metamorphosing into an icy waterfall
Which reveals a sudden extraordinary beauty,
A terrifying thunderous violence
That punishes the sharp stone smooth
And leaves behind a treacherous slide
Before the churn and froth coalesces into a river again.
All so the water can get where it thinks it needs to go.

But that’s not exactly my path.
I've gone as far as I can, for I lose my way
When faced with a looming void.
I back away from the edge and return again to the forest,
Scanning the matrix of trees, patiently waiting
For the winding lanes to reappear
So I can begin the slow, dogged,
Always ad-libbed, return back home.


1 comment:

Oldfoolrn said...

Superb! Each time I read this something different pops into my aging CNS. Nice work and Happy New Year to you and your family.