L C Vieira

Rookie (Lisbon, Portugal)

Children Walk in the Woods

The children laugh and leap through ferns,
lushly swaying with tickle turns,
and trip on hemlock roots to find
proud puff balls poking by their side.

One dead tree let alone still brings
new life and wonder every Spring,
'hides trilliums white and indian pipe,
translucent in the morning light.

The orange newt, they almost miss,
but pause there briefly for a kiss
of dew drops from a sassafras;
leaves shimmering in a breeze's pass.

Beneath this canopy of love
float down sweet, soft gifts from above
of fir and maple, hemlock, beech,
birch and ash in hickory's reach.

One chestnut bravely carries on,
with moist moss counts the years along
to know which little feet tread near,
and in their way, to keep paths clear.

Bright eyes of wonder peer in holes.
What creatures hide within these folds?
Green frog, red squirrel, woodpecker home,
share forest fruits if left alone.

They giggle at the bark marks left
as trophies of their playfulness
on faces unconcerned with loss
and less aware of what it costs -

to leave these treasures as they are
when grownups are not very far;
to hear the quiet in the trees
and scramble round on dusty knees.

The children stop to hear the song -
a wood thrush sends one more along,
and blue jay mocks, then 'dee-dee-dee'
of small ones in their joyful spree.

Such children push their fingers where
their parents would no longer dare,
lest ivy sneak in from the shade
to bite their ankles where they've strayed.

They snuggle noses in the old,
and breathe in colors, faint and bold,
to hug and taste the forest floor
as they delight in finding more.

This playground of the finest things,
what joy it gives, what love it brings!
If only we would leave it there,
for little children everywhere,

too young for thoughts that this could pass
if wonder's lost and ignorance lasts.
An ugly toad peeks out to say,
'Beware of grownups on the way! '

Submitted: Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, January 08, 2014

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