Where the Woodlands Were by Jenevieve Carlyn Hughes

Where the Woodlands Were

Near a farmhouse on the old toll road,
daffodils planted by the garden club

bow like falling stars along a roadside trail
someone once called harkness ridge.

The name was lost, but the ghosts remain:
elk, moose, lynx, porcupine. Tonight,
a coyote who is no moonlit apparition
improvises a musical riff in the low fog

and the half-wild creature beside me waits,
ears alert, fur on end. A snowshoe hare

dashes through the last sleek minute
of winter into the plush spring-melt,

past a congregation of owls nestled
in the soul of a tree, wingbeats hovering

above the quiet pond where beavers
built their lodge in arboreal waters

from the trudge & reach of spruce and fir,
towering trunks like sentient ships

under Ursa Major, the sign of the bear.
All of this exists without me, and yet

maybe something is changed by being here;
a place-name long forgotten, then recalled,
becomes the beginning of a pilgrimage
as I stumble upon a path toward the stars.

My dog can hear each glinting animal
so this is not goodbye, only until we meet again

in this rare swift world, this quickening expanse,
this vanishing forest.

by Jenevieve Carlyn Hughes

Editor’s Note: This poem’s gorgeous imagery serves as a frame for the emotional thread that runs through the scene—where wonder and knowledge meet with respectful cordiality.


2 responses to “Where the Woodlands Were by Jenevieve Carlyn Hughes”

  1. Lucie Winborne Avatar
    Lucie Winborne

    This is absolutely beautiful. Such setting of a mood and storytelling in relatively simple but powerful imagery.

  2. Kathleen M Chaffin Avatar
    Kathleen M Chaffin

    A very lovely poem. IMNSHO, it’s dragged down a bit by an excess of verbs but perhaps that’s a metaphor in itself of man’s ponderous destructive passage through this glorious world. Kudos.

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