Following the Woodsman

We walk for hours but he won't talk;
Boots in the snow become the only sound. At last,
A patch of pale pansies.
Miles through wildflower woods and this
Is all we find. Well done, winter.

I kneel with my basket. Silence. My breath comes
In cold clouds. Behind me, the little creak
Of his dagger leaving its sheath.
"It's all right," I say, and snap a stem.
"They're young. I don't need a knife."

Again, silence. One footstep.
Another. Metal flung to the ground.
And then he is running,
And then he is gone.

photograph by Bree


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

Straight Talk from Fox by Mary Oliver

Listen says fox it is music to run
over the hills to lick
dew from the leaves to nose along
the edges of the ponds to smell the fat
ducks in their bright feathers but
far out, safe in their rafts of
sleep. It is like
music to visit the orchard, to find
the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the
rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself
is a music. Nobody has ever come close to
writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot
be told. It is flesh and bones
changing shape and with good cause, mercy
is a little child beside such an invention. It is
music to wander the black back roads
outside of town no one awake or wondering
if anything miraculous is ever going to
happen, totally dumb to the fact of ever
moment’s miracle. Don’t think I haven’t
peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons
making love, arguing, talking about God
as if he were an idea instead of the grass,
instead of the stars, the rabbit caught
in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought
home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is
responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not
give my life for a thousand of yours.

photograph by Nathaniel Atakora Martin

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