Five Hundred Million Years Ago
There is a pale sun on this November day
And I am in the wood along Elk Creek
Watching crisp October glory
Descend in deciduous decay.
The ground is dark--almost sticky
It is a thin carbon skin
Dressing Ordovician limestone.
Not much is happening in the bed of Elk Creek.
The water is barely stumbling
Over her flat stones and she is telling
That it has not rained in some time.
Yet the trail seems not to know
It is slippery underfoot and in places
Hides beneath a coat of moss.
I go gently up that green trail
Through the softening litter of oaks.
Also there--I find the moldering
Children of the hedge apple
Still clinging to mother tree are one or two
But most are on the ground—going pale.
They are such characters these lumpy orbs
And they form a magic circle--calling for me to step inside.
I am caught now—in the web of looking
There is little to hear
Just the persistent cry of a bird I do not know.
I want the perfect one
Large and well formed without undercuts.
These hedge apples--I think they are my friends
I call them brother fruit
I mean to tell them
That they--are a magnificent ruin.
Jean Ann Bolliger 2009