The evening light of spring in Bowker’s Wood
Is soft and dapples on the greening ground.
The earth once more reveals her maidenhood,
While the river curves an oxbow all around.
The path beneath my feet feels cushioned, soft
From seasons of pine needles fallen there.
The straight-limbed trees wear all their green aloft,
While a west wind soughs in mourning and despair,
For long-gone days when all the land was pretty
And the river running by was pure and fair.
It sighs and soughs because it’s such a pity
That places like these woods are all too rare.
The fiddleheads will soon be all unfurled,
Will Hobbamocko* overcome this world?
*Hobbamocko was the Mahican spirit of evil.
Jws Spring, Glendale 1988
Country Road on Leap Year Day
Farther along the rutted road we go,
The woods are bright with little flags of snow.
Temporary streams in runnels are tumbling
Along this by-way and beneath the crumbling
Old stone walls from many years ago, when
All this land was cleared and farmed by men
With horses, who performed backbreaking labors,
And knew good fences always make good neighbors.
Now, high atop a sugar maple tree,
Beside the beech and shagbark hickory,
Standing sentinel is a squirrel’s dray.
Mother Nature once more is holding sway.
Birdsong promises that Spring is in the air…
Oh! Who has tossed that empty beer can there?
Jws February 29, 2000
A Sonnet for my son
Now and then she thinks of him
He’d be past fifty-two.
A blond, good-looking,
Blue-eyed man of six foot one or two?
Or would his hair be lightish brown
and he of average height?
She thinks she sees him sometimes,
But it’s just a trick of the light.
She sees him in his sisters’ eyes
And in her grandson’s smile.
And in a stranger’s face when she
Hasn’t thought of him for a while.
And while she doesn’t dwell on it
As some other mother might,
She wonders what he’d be today
If he hadn’t taken flight,
And gone, at only eighteen months,
Into that long goodnight.
for Corin Salsbury October 1, 1964 – March 23, 1966
Judy Staber 2017