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Sonnet 924 by John Edwards

Sonnet 924

“A Walk In April Woods”

Its a year since Lucy walked this trail with me

And a lot can happen and she sees it too

Close up on four feet instead of two

“That cedar must have barber-chaired in a winter storm

And brought down a cottonwood with it in the fall

And the path goes under it not around” I say,

So I let her choose the way,

And we don't linger long

Under so many tons of history

There's a patch of trillium and Easter lily

In a slant of sun through the canopy

Then pale Indian pipes in the shade and dew

With stinging nettletops purplegreen

Ready for picking but only with gloves and care

And then a cluster of hanging alder and maple I have to clear

That bowed and broke, lost out in the race to live in sun

Like drunken sailors caught forever by a leeward wind

A pigeontoed bear trail crosses our pilgrim's way

And Lucy gives a perfunctory bark and sniff

But the scent isn't new and anyway she's used to it

While high above in the impossible blue

A pair of redtailed hawks perform a mating minuet

We enter a grove of young cedars colonizing the gap a widowmaker left

Yellow pollen clouds explode at every brush of paw and head

From questing fingers that stroke the air

But in deep moss I see a strand of rusting wire

And then a row of horizontal posts becoming earth again

They remind me of the farmer in Dunsmuir's time

Who got this place under the Homestead Act

I found him buried in a government file like his old fence

On a deed: “Twenty acres more or less” in flowing longhand

(Although it was really twenty-two) when accuracy wasn't worth the find

While underfoot salaal reclaims the floor and jealous swordfern's close behind

With fronds crookbent from snow and flowering ironwood's next I know

Since we two last tried to assert our position

But only for a bodywidth through these April woods

'Cause its important to Lucy and me that here at least Nature is still the rule

By John Edwards


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