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Bush

Francis Edward Sparshott
From:   Storms and Screens,. 1986.


A gaunt crane startles among reeds.
Vultures turn from the sky.
A snapping turtle drops from a log.
The sun is strong but I think the wind is stronger.
The quiet massasauga
coils on her mottled rock;
leaves shade her timorous tongue,
her dry buzz stops the forest cold.
Wise children peering in the dust
discern the terror of her shaken tail.

And where were you walking, children, back in the bush,
with slingshots and cola, teeshirts and torn jeans,
over the blazed trail, the trail grown over
with red dogwood, kneedeep in the tough brake,
your sneakers scuffling in the mould?
—We are coming to see the hanged man,
the hanged man,
left in his bones and shackles
to shake among the birches,
the dead birches
knocking and rattling in the useless gale.


Francis Edward Sparshott's works copyright © to the author.


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