Language in the Polish Forest – A Poem by Rowe Williams

Inspired by “I’m Sorry, I’m Lost” by Moderator, and a hike.

The air is suffused 
with soft forest smells; 
fresh pine rises 
from millions of needles 
but even this multitude fails 
to overwhelm. 
Underneath, so pervasive 
as to escape notice 
is dirt, a combination of 
blooming life and decaying death 
that shows both 
are actually one and the same. 
Wooden bridges are new enough 
to offer up their own fragrant offerings 
into the air; 
the odor incongruously fresh 
for the result of such precise butchery. 
The surrounding stone smells of age; 
it has given up so much of itself 
into the air 
that you can sense its fatigue. 
So old, but even so, inconstant 
in the face of time. 

The forest, the dirt 
the bridges and stones... 
None of these things 
needed me. 
They were and are, 
of whether I am. 
But now I have spoken them into existence. 
Now they and I 
are one and the same; 
entangled in history and language. 
"What therefore God hath joined together 
let not man put asunder."

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