Portrait of a Forest Afternoon
By FJ Doucet
A narrow stream of clean water trickles over rock
and under the white summer sun, flowing down
to pool, bubbling, in an open circle of stones.
Doves coo, listless, from the high forest reaches,
while bees hum and mutter and the broader brook breaches
tangled black bushes bowed by white velvet roses.
Now darkling, oaken arms close in, their long shadows growing
after noon. Thin leaves admit suddenly furious ruby light,
and blind the cunning fox winking in and of sight.
Twilight's sudden rule engenders brilliant amber flashes,
and spent petals, dancer gentle, drift to build a death bed,
inviting weary hunters to lay down their nodding heads.
Now sharp with thorns, now soft with fruit, now perfumed, powder pink,
the flowers' fertile whispers hum their mad and ancient hymns,
to seduce the hungry cardinals from the wisdom of their flight.