In a cold low place filled with shadows
time and air sit silently.
Old trees block the sun.
Cobbles protrude from earthly matter
veined with minerals that sparkle no more.
Dark winged birds flutter in thick bramble mounds.
Buried here in this green cellar
are secrets that wait
like seeds, undisturbed
for decades waiting to be uncovered
and embroidered with patterns of light.
Clouds crossing the sun darken the grass islands
that dot the salt marsh.
In the distant Sound a red barge passes from east to west.
It is the one a young seaman fell from last autumn.
His body was found by the mouth of the marsh.
Rarely is death seen in the cove.
In early spring there is sudden flight of single blackbirds
across the water to oaks and a brook
in silent purpose.
Catbirds meander through briars at the edge.
As the tide filters from the marsh bed
egrets fly in, settle in the mud and stab
at creatures in the skim coat of water.
Wavelets can be heard hitting the pebbly shore to the north.
As night descends, the clouds grow darker than the sky.
Mute swans appear in the rising water
in the far corner of the cove where trees loom.
Each year their nest here has been swept away
by a new moon high tide.
In this shadowed corner the tongue of marsh
meets land riddled by animal trails.
Here unwanted phragmites grow and once I found
the torn wing of a mute swan.
Plants invade, butterflies deceive, a quiet plan emerges.
Saplings of the crowded forest rarely flower.
Still, they create stems and leaves that reach upward.
I have seen a Swallowtail butterfly enter the forest veil and
rest for many minutes on the leaf of a stunted choke cherry.
And pass by the sweet fragrance of a garden rose.
There is movement in the forest.
Nameless individuals grow, as we sleep.
They reach up, in search of an advantage.
In my dream, trees and birds protect me,
yet they cast shadows on darker events.
Hiding in the grove,
a crow eyed an opening of sky.
A cold breeze drove air across the trees.
Not-yet-turned leaves fell.
The bird flew off, arcing
through the branches.
His wings made a sound of rustling
The Moon has no light of her own, hers
is a marginal brightness. Though she drifts
farther from sight, she is the luminary of the night.
But in the dark hours
her will draws out the winter buds,
causes the seas to swell
and with a thin finger, points the way to spring.