I'm glad to be back after a long hiatus. The end of winter was a busy time in my poetry life. Life in Me like Grass on Fire, the anthology of love poems I edited for Maryland Writers Association, comes out next Friday -- just in time for National Poetry Month.
Little Patuxent Review, my first issue as editor.
The issue will include an essay on the importance of make believe in modern thought, by Maryland poet-in-the-schools Vonnie Winslow Crist.
Vonnie is a contributor to Life in Me, and has her own new book out. The Greener Forest is a collection of original myths, faery fantasy, poetry and Vonnie's artwork.
I'm just starting to read this rich book (appropriate for advanced middler school readers and older). The title poem feels like early spring -- when the first warm weather makes us want to rush outside and put our toes in the grass.
The Greener Forest
by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Leave all iron, red thread, bells,
and four-leafed clovers secured
in your cozy house.
Then, cross the yard and unlock
the gate in the out-of-the-way
corner of the fence.
Walk between its posts
into unruly grasses
who mutter with each stride.
Tug through the brambles and briar
who grip, grasp, attempt to
dissuade you from moving forward.
Next, stroll past gnarled vines
heavy with grapes,
step beyond abandoned apple trees,
their elongated limbs burdened with fruits,
and enter the forest.
It will be greener there,
and smell of pine, moss, wild flowers,
mushrooms, earth, and decay.
From the corner of your eye,
you'll think you spy acorn sprites
swinging on oak branches.
You'll tilt your head,
certain you hear the voices of dryads
harmonizing with bird songs.
You'll lift your hand,
brush at the spider-web touch
of something finer than an eyelash
against your cheek --
but do not tarry.
Instead, follow the butterfly-filled path
that winds to the banks
of a stream rich with trout and sprites.
But tread carefully --
stray-sods, bogles, goblins, and such
skulk nearby waiting for the careless,
giants sleep below the moss,
and kelpies, eager to drown the unwary,
paddle just below
the water's silvery sheen.
Kneel down, but don't wade in.
Scoop a handful of cool liquid,
take a sip, close your eyes,
and proclaim your belief in Faerie.
At that moment,
should you spot an unusual pebble
or should a feather drift down
or a most colorful leaf scamper by --
grab it, hold it tightly,
and count yourself lucky.
For They have heard you,
and send bright blessings.
Published with permission of the author.
They aren't hearing us here in Maryland. We're expecting snow this weekend -- but that makes me enjoy Vonnie's poem even more.
Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is ringing in spring as our Poetry Friday host. Thanks, Mary Lee!