Caution To The Woodsman

by Jennifer Burville-Riley

Oh foolish woodsman, the whispering reeds
are not sharing their secrets
but shooing you, shooing you
far from this place.
See how the tar-black pools
deny your inquisitive eyes,
concealing their treasures possessively
with a mirrored shield of silvered sky
as the water feigns to embrace your reflection
but stays your invasion, stays your invasion.

Fleeting wings shimmy the chevron leaves,
flitting like phantoms through trembling curtains
of shadow and light at the edge
of your mind’s roosting eye,
never in sight, never in sight.
Limbs grow crooked, twist from your reach,
sallow and alder seeking relief
from the soothing grey lichens
that carefully bandage
time’s lingering wounds.

Velveted moss beds
bruise at the weight of your imprint steps
as scattered leaves curl,
furling hollow inside their own hearts,
hoarse with their dry-lipped
hiss at you, hiss at you.
Foolish woodsman, ferns seem to
greet you with nodding caress
but the fronds are bestowing a last-rite embrace
as you raise up the axe and hard-swing the heft,
earth-umbilical cleft, cleft, cleft.