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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)

TITLE: The Woods
By Jim McWhinnie



a certain morning in the woods
awakens to the scent of newborn life,
it is a momentary harkening
to an Eden that lingered in the forest soul,
now in the dew of the melted winter
a mossy green appears
upon the fallen logs of yesterday
and first wildflowers of hope returned.
the woods in spring are as misty dreams
as toddlers learning the joys of making play,
growing, growing with faint-hearted fear of mortal ends,
all is new,
all is fresh,
all is coming into bloom.
and the elders, who await the young,
the ancient oaks, the majestic elms, the sturdy maples,
they resume the labors of their years,
to send forth another greening,
to add one more ring of being here,
and they remember, these old men in this old world,
that they can and must be young again.


the squirrels among the branches
are playing games of chase,
chattering in their mischief
at robins and jays,
the cubs, the pups are gaining their legs,
yipping and growling
in non-threatening ways,
the fresh green of springtime
has grown deep and mature,
grown rich in the sunshine, grown rich in the rain.
the clearings are like lakes of wildflowers tossed in the breeze,
a divine spattering of rainbows
across un-mowed fields.
this is life without end, this is life with no fences,
this is the feel of forever that a young man feels,
all dreams are in play,
all hopes will be real,
lush is the grass and full are the trees,
and we can do everything we can imagine to be,
we can do all, all that we please,
for the summer is warm
and the forest is green.


‘tis the last few miles,
the last shouts of glory
before the hunkering down
for the long, cold slumber
of the wintering of life,
this autumn woods.
“we shall not go quietly,” the trees resolve,
“we shall sing the songs of splendor
in notes of russet golds and sunset reds,
and make the valiant stand against the cruel fates of time,
with all reluctance to end our days
before succumbing to the gravity of what-must-be.”
and as the maples bare themselves,
leaf by leaf
to carpet earth below in heroic requiem,
we shall catch last time the passing wind
and will have died as nobly as we have lived
becoming in the end, the fertile field
to live once morem, again.


the wood feels almost gone.
the barren limbs seem to grieve
for the departed leaves,
the trees weep their tears
now frozen as an icy pall
upon the weathered bark,
it is as if this vast emptiness,
this heartless chill
is a ghostly wake for summers gone.
yes, the winter woods does feel like death,
as would confess any shivering soul passing through,
for the pilgrim through the snowy wasteland
soon begins to understand
that hell might not be of scorching fire at all,
but rather of crackling ice.
yet beneath the ice, within the heartwood hidden,
primal souls survive,.
who whispes in their faint and foggy breaths,
“We shall survive, we will.”
and the maples and the birches,
the poplars and the elms,
they will.
they will outlive the winter
for such must be the ways of old trees such these.

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This article has been read 608 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/20/11
Absolutely beautiful! Autumn was my favorite.
Patricia Herchenroether01/20/11
Stunning. Truly great writing.
Beth LaBuff 01/20/11
You've created beautiful word pictures! This is rich and beautiful!
Rachel Phelps01/21/11
Lovely. I could picture the whole year. Beautiful word images.
Henry Clemmons01/22/11
I enjoyed the poetic tour of the seasons; some very excellent lines and a message well told.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/22/11
How beautiful! I liked that you made winter full of hope.
Carol Slider 01/23/11
This is just absolutely lovely in every way--a series of poems to read and savor again and again. Loved it!
Mona Purvis01/25/11
Jim, this is excellent. You've written volumes here. Exquisite. I don't know where it will place, but it is a winner.
Lynda Schultz 01/26/11
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/28/11
Congratulations for placing in the top 30 overall!