When I was a boy I walked in fields
And woods behind my house,
Enjoying the solitude of the trees.
I would lie and watch
The water bugs, larvae, tiny tadpoles
Swim in streams and pools.
Jewel weeds with orange- and yellow-spotted
Cornucopia flowers hanging down
From thin stems under leaves on plants
Spread in large patches, crowding out
The poison ivy. May apples, thick
Stems with umbrella leaves,
Some split to allow a simple white flower
That swells to a yellow fruit --
More like a lemon than an apple --
But who'd enjoy the sound
Of May lemon over May apple
Or even want to try a taste?
The rest of the woods was dead leaves
Or tiny trees trying
To catch up with their parents.
Then one year, the farmer
Who owned the woods behind my house
Cleared the tiny trees and brush,
Leaving only open space
Between the taller trees.
I was angry when I saw it.
Then, that summer, I took a walk.
The streams, the jewel weed, the May apples --
All were gone.
But in the open space,
With all the extra light,
Bright blue lobelias and hot pink bearded orchids
Spread throughout the woods.
One set of beauty could not help
But soon replace the other.
A rarer beauty had taken over.