GONE

The salmon people
don’t live here anymore
you have moved them
up the river, then inland
so they no longer need to wander.

The salmon
do not swim here anymore
you have dammed the rivers
to draw out their power
and penned the mighty fish
where the river first licks the sea.

The eagle doesn’t
fly here anymore
the great pines
that sat for generations
below his aerie are now
cut into neat supports
on which we hang our walls.

Our children
do not run here anymore
they have moved
to the cities, have gone off
to wars for fighting
is the only job
which they are given.

We have no rivers
we have no salmon
we have no sons, save those
who sleep under neat white stones.
We look for the eagle
a mighty spirit
but he, too, has been claimed
by the others
to decorate their buildings.
We have only our spirit
to guide us and we know
that soon you will claim them too
and leave us as you arrived
to repeat the sad story.

ONLY NOW

Tomorrow, in all likelihood,
the park will still be there,
we will still be walking there,
the Austrian Pines will still
stare down at us on the path,
and the cardinal will flash by,
his cry for attention in a red blaze.
Tomorrow all this will likely happen
as it did yesterday and last week,
and yet nothing will be the same,
nothing, nothing at all.

THE MUSIC OF SPRING

The music hides, just out of sight,
beyond the edge of hearing.
We assume it must be something by Mozart
or at least Bach, a tocatta and fugue,
swallowed by the trees, the cardinal singing
faintly, mirroring the tune,
but there is only the wind
meandering throught the pines
which have cast off the weight
of winter and patiently await
the fullness of spring, swaying
and singing a song to the night.

PICNIC

A cloud envelopes the forest.  The trees believe it is they who pierce the cloud, impaling it, its essence drained onto their sagging limbs.  The shower passes and we walk the forest floor.  In a small clearing we lie down on a damp bed of needles.  They do not pierce our skin.  Four birds gather on a nearby limb.  They stare at us, we back at them.  I pull sandwiches from the picnic basket, a bottle of wine.  You open the small blanket.  The birds seem to find this interesting.  They chitter among themselves.  We only think we understand what they are saying.  The tomato is pressed tight against the mozzarella, basil leaves floating above.  Crumbs from the ciabatta fall on the blanket.  I am distracted by a motion on the edge of vision.  I turn and think it is a doe standing many yards off, in an odd stand of birch that seem lost, dwarfed by the surrounding pines.  Bits of roll fall on the ground.  The birds pause and take careful note of this.  They are certain when we carefully pack up, the last drops of wine spilled on the ground, our forgotten scraps will be their meal.  As we walk from the forest we watch as the trees release their grip.  We see the cloud slip away into a sunlit sky.