looking up through trees, painting by B J C MThe forest is a village,
a society, inhabited.

Oaks are like knotty grandfathers
caressing with harshgentle barkbeard cheeks,
looming like green mountains,
smelling of loam and bittersweet.

Birches are lithe sisters, reaching
pale arms to the moon,
tickling the spring night with their catkins,
and the summer air with shivering leaves.

Maples cloak themselves demurely
thickly sheltering soft feathery lives
only to turn brazen come fall,
to mantle bewitchingly,
flush and glow.

Stately pines grow tall and stern
discounting the seasons,
proud silhouettes belying
their fierce tenacity,
the blaze in their adamant brawn.

Below, ancient moss
is plush and green
among old labyrinths of roots
and sweetly rotting logs.

Between, above, beyond,
hidden eyes survey every glint and shade,
from deep sweet caverns of wood and leaf.
The undergrowth rustles.

The woods are greens and more greens.
Cool with shadows, to swallow you up,
and there, and there, and – oh! –
lemon-hot greens where sun
breaches the canopy
sparking your eye,
muting your breath,
falling like a shower of air,
like a collective sigh.

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