It beckons me this ancient wood
With lofty stands of pine and beech
Long branches touching, dark and green,
With darting thrushes tucked unseen
Twixt black-shade and sunbeam streaming
Through openings high to sunlit sky
And rain clouds swiftly sliding by.

It beckons me this ancient wood
'Neath aged king and aged queen,*
Towering o'er unconquered land
With hollowed snag amid the stand,
Now bald and dead, tattooed and pecked,
A tribal drum with tapping beat,
Primeval-code, a rhythmic suite.

It beckons me this ancient wood
With graveyards filled with fallen logs
Wrapped and covered in velvet moss,
With lichens clinging to the dross,
The old tree roots raised bare, in vain,
Left sunken holes topped-up with rain,
Small vernal pools, life's first domain.

It beckons me this ancient wood
Where in the wind the warblers sing.
A sudden flash of scarlet wing,
A tanager flying home to bring
Beetles, berries, and varied fruits,
And late at night the Barred Owl hoots,
An ancient song of haunted flutes.

Copyright © Margaret Jane Jones