The Forest Keepers

At the Heart of every forest
Lies a clearing green and lush
Where the keepers build their houses
in the boysenberry bush:
Walled with silver strips of birch bark,
Thatched with woven, living twigs,
Decked with crocuses and bluebells,
Twixt the berry-laden sprigs.

The merry keepers flit about
on rainbow wings like Butterflies,
tending maple, fir, and oak trees
till they grow to ample size.
As they work they race the cardinals
While the blue jay blithely cries;
The brook chuckles at their antics;
The willow’s droop his mirth belies.
For the oriole’s egg-filled nest
The Keepers gather soft lamb’s ear,
Gather windflower and sorrel,
Spreading far the word of cheer.

Dusky yews spread wide their branches,
And they play upon the breeze;
Slender saplings and their wardens
Harken to the elder trees.
Through the quiet still of twilight
Drifts a lulling reedpipe tune;
Contented sighs, soft beds of pine
Turn to dreams beneath the moon.

by Fred Lee Newman, IV

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