Monday, October 17, 2011

Out Of The Forest Primeval

Despite the morning's point of view,
casting shadows on high rise and road, fog
drifts along the water, steam
incurred by an Iroquois woman
boiling her broth of birch leaves
and bones, ribs she borrowed
from something that almost leapt
into the hillside bushes.

Earlier, a car swerved
before the mist had risen. Its driver
startled by swift legs, a tail
of white fur. And beyond that --
humming, this feminine voice
high-pitched and shattering the sun,
daylight, daybreak, a day
Photograph of birch trees by New Paltz artist, G. Steve Jordon.

This poem evolved after two nights back in The Hudson Valley. Though humid, there was still the Autumn mist rising slowly over the river in the morning. And despite the modern buildings, highways and other signs of industrialized cullture, the ancient spirit of the season and its native inhabitants, of long ago, prevailed. Iroquois tribes were part of the valley's history and still have a spiritual presence there. There is something intangibly haunting about the Hudson river in Autumn with the turning leaves and the fog steaming along its banks. Newburgh is very urban but on the outskirts, there are the hills and the deer and this intertwining of both ages. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said in the opening lines of his famous Saga , Evangeline, "This is the Forest Primeval, and still, the woodlands of that area are "A Forest Primeval" where the path and souce of that other life never really died but emerges ,now and then, to slow down humanity, to trepass on the present, to collide with the future.

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