Moment of Bliss
I'm swathed in velvet silence, silken, smooth,
with silver rippled monograms of dawn
amidst the pine, where breezes poised to soothe
me with a lover's secrets are withdrawn
by jealous deities who choose to press
against my ears the hum of centuries
of woodland meditations. But they bless
me with this stillness, with the panoplies
of spellbound apparitions in the leaves,
and smoke suspended by an artist's brush,
and feathered coteries that one perceives
as whimsy till a strident cry and rush
of wings reveals the bane of their caprice
to be the shattered fragments of my peace.
And Brief Is Life
With secrets rustling through the winter oak
and echoes on primeval forest floor
come palpitating rains. A thunderstroke
foretells the waiting fiery metaphor
of dastardly Promethean bequest:
the earth convulsing in a flaming gasp,
then crumbling dry, like mysteries suppressed
in ancient tombs. But chilling breezes grasp
the aftermath with glowering lament,
the sleet lays willow switches on my face,
and scowling swirls of white in swift descent
defy the weary huntress to embrace
her tumbling cubs before the bitter cold
enhances black of night a thousandfold.
A leafy rustling, cooling scents from breeze-
borne pine, a perfumed breath and calming voice,
earth's keeper with her child. I feel at ease
beneath a silv'ry canopy, my choice
for shelter from the fiery brilliant white
expanse, while gangs of glitter trickle through
the clotted overgrowth in hurried flight,
avoiding timbered hands to rendezvous
on mossy paths. And now the whispering
recedes, a dullish humming monotone
assails my ears, a steamy glowering
is pressing me to earth like heavy stone.
So on and on the daylight's vagaries,
till weary witness nightfall might appease.
The flirting winds slap dryly at my face,
as silver scatterings of daylight slip
and stutter through the arbor to embrace
my acclamations, in companionship
with crimson hosts deflecting tingly bits
of warming on my skin. Faint rustlings stir
the forest floor - a forager emits
directives in a fuss of chirp and fur.
The musky pathway seeks communion with
wild pinks and purples, roaming rods of gold,
all spilled in starry tales of ancient myth
when Flora, bearing gifts, was first cajoled.
And I'm a shadow on a charmed abode,
a will-o-wisp upon a wishing road.
The silent flakes of snow, like dainty white-
winged creatures dogged in their frenzied quest
to join as one, unerringly alight
upon my path, as if at my behest.
The odor, sweet, of burning maple curls
through thick'ning flurry walls; a wolflike whine
betrays the gale arising as it swirls
and bullies through the tips of stubborn pine.
The cabin beckons me; a dullish light
prepares me for a welcome interlude
of warmth and sustenance, an age-old rite,
an intercourse of fire and solitude.
The wintry pomp and bluster need not cease,
for in my womblike refuge I'm at peace.
The sulking landscape, brittle, dreary, stained
with litter like an airless alleyway,
ignites in fleeting brilliance, as if deigned
by Phoebus that the heavens might display
a pencil-shaded hint of virgin green
as prelude to a symphony of change.
In sudden rustlings playful sprites convene
in chatty complement to rearrange
their homestead; and a prankish sparrow swoons
and darts and teases; and the scheming wind,
whose grudging bitter grip, in rasping tunes
through weary pine, will balm of spring rescind,
transcends the season's lingering affair
by lifting faint hosannas to the air.
A grayish day,
and a droplet dizzies my dust-weary window
in a tiny spectrum of smirking light;
it soon shrivels to shadow,
as it has a thousand times before:
once beaded in a crooked path
on the gritty sinew inching a boulder
toward an emperor's fancy;
once the pinkish spray
from the master's lash
on a pulsing swell of boyish flesh;
once the earthy last scent
of a moonscape furrow
in a plowman's droughted field;
once the dewy glisten
blurring a wizened squaw's last look
at sacred hunting grounds.
each of them now,
in the mist before my eyes,
to live again,
to pass away,
to live again.
Entombed in silence, airless woodland, time and I must wait
to be restored, as intonations of eternity
that pulse against my ears engage the past, a tete-a-tete
with present moments catatonic and portentously
uncertain of their path, and daunted by a barricade
of stillness. Stillness. Then a breath, a stirring in the pine,
seductive cooing by the lofty spruce that serenade
me with sirenic woodwinds, piping, pining, subtle whine
of breezes with a swag and stutter, an impatient pause,
then ever faster, orchestrating a disharmony
of startled motion, slapping at the wind as if applause
were coarsely celebrating some coniferous esprit
for boughs unburdened of the stifling calm; and then a veil
of perspiration settles on the active arborland,
and dart-like droplets in neurotic starts and fits impale
me to the ground in cringing protest to their reprimand,
and from the melancholy heavens plummet raucous sheets
of water, rushing, blustering amidst spasmodic flares
of white, with anguished bellows, as a vengeful god excretes
his versicolored venoms in magnificent affairs
of silver, shock, and shatterings, symphonic souvenirs
polyphonously patterned in designs of Providence,
until in sizzling smoky plumes the forest disappears
beneath a rage that renders impotent my every sense.
An Occurrence in the Woods
Upon a once delightful time, when I, abiding by a sylvan sigh of sycamore and pine,
contrived to pass upon my neighborland in scholarly repose,
I chanced to happen on a curious component of the wilds, at once buffoonish and benign,
a squirrel aslumber, tummy dumpling plump, a nutmeat at its nose.
"Upon my word," spoke I, "how still you lie, malformed aboard a rolling hoard of hickory delights,
content to ornament an oaken door, quite indisposed to move;
for all your cousins, scores and dozens, fill the forest, ever tending unrelenting appetites,
while you preponderate in plenty, more than Eden would behoove."
"Upon my pappy's scraggly stern," said he, "you seem to be, cerebrally, simplistic to assess,"
as he commenced a roll in troubled tones to loftier terrain;
"I spurn this piteous portrayal of my rodentry, to wit, my kith and kindred in distress,
all fur and flurry, sniffing fervidly for unbegotten gain.
"Upon my well-provided bastion I will gladly glut on butternuts and sweetmeats of success,
and I will wax the night resplendent in celestial silhouette;
for as the progeny of honor I'm decidedly entitled to the gatherers' largesse,
and I am pleased to sip the nectar of their sacrificial sweat."
Upon the gusty culmination of his lordly rant, he huffed and panted, turning on his tail
in proud retreat in sluggish sweep into the shadowy inside;
and I sat quietly amused, and quite convinced that I was party to a miscreantic tale
by which no member of a more developed species could abide.