These Lush Quiet Woods Are A Refreshing Change --by Bo Sirant, 2011 These lush quiet woods Are a refreshing

change From the vapid poverty Of open desert The bare and bald Sparsely covered hills The rocky range and Dusty brown bland Afghan town I am dead tired of hot Stinging fine desert sand And its infernal chafe And fed up with every faded Hue, shade and tint Of beige Or whatever the color of Sandbox dirt, dung, clay and grime is What a joy To be surrounded by This rich and complex Resilient growth From moss, lichens, Fungi, ferns and saplings To mighty and lofty pines Its kaleidoscopic mosaics Lit and backlit greens Sweeping from lime To cobalt and cadmium Brilliant and luminous Incandescent to subdued Irridescent Muted and pastel This vivid verdure Complements the rusty greys of Massively girthed Deeply furrowed Trunks, gnarled roots and The huge boulders and Shear and smooth cliffs Of crystalline fine grained granite and

Striated, streaked and kinked Pink and grey gneiss This forest is my sanctuary A vast cathedral Built over centuries By the Creator, The Master Architect and Engineer Once quickly and ruthlessly decimated By the hardy lumberjacks of yesteryear Their handiwork and legacy Hardly evident now Except to a keen archeologist’s eye That spots a rusting reminder Hidden in the slash Fortunately some trees Those that were still young Crooked or damaged were spared And left as seed trees That have grown Into majestic and deeply rooted Great white pines and hemlocks Towering far over The rest Taking the force of wild wind And guiding a cannonade of Blinding lightning bolts To the rugged silver-veined Canadian Shield below Some succumbed to fire, Winter’s fury, parasitic attack And other ravages And are toppled Or stand as decaying monuments And totemic snags Or lie rotting corpse-like on the forest floor As moss and lichen covered burial mounds Amid wide crumbling stumps Out of which New growth spurts These mighty scarred survivors are This church’s magnificent pillars, columns And sloping buttresses

The canopy letting rays of light Shine through down to The gleaming leafy dewy elements below That reflect the light like brilliant Jewelled stained glass at sunrise I feel squared away, Safe, sound and secure here Serene Nothing strange to Worry about No menacing gestures Grimaces or frowns Threats or insults here Nothing is ever hurled at me By some snotty kid Nor do I have to keep My head down Or wear full battle rattle I have little to fear Except perhaps for that Burly black bear Who hikes these same Timeworn tribal trails Or hiking accidents Or certain humans Who enter these woods From time to time I watch and avoid them And clean up after them And even though I have hung up My pixilated relish Woodland camo combats For good They will never know I am here and so close Even if I am in the buff Likewise the bears, moose, deer, beavers, Marten, wolves, wolverines, lynx Bobcats, porcupines, red squirrels, chipmunks And other fellow denizens Are wary of me And are elusive Like me

“These woods are lovely, dark and deep” Cool and moist and flowered too But unlike Robert Frost, I don’t have promises to keep, Nor anywhere to rush before I eat, Nor miles to drive before I sleep Nor anything I’ve sown that I must reap Nor anymore peace to make or keep, Or wars to wage I am no longer in the race So I can explore this oasis and refuge And sacred space At my own pace Mindfully Without limit Or reservation I may sit on a rock overhang Above a hidden And pristine, shimmering lake Ringed by undulating hills Cross-legged Like an ancient sage or sadhu Or buckskinned elder With feathers fluttering Shrouded in sweet grass smoke Riding the breath Riding, riding and riding it A thousand times and more Meditating and Contemplating Wise warrior ways As I slowly begin To fade away

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This poem is dedicated to LGen. The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, (Ret'd)

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