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A Walk Through Blakeley State Park

Trees in tardigrade motion
enjoy the quidnunc of evening rain 
and bear testimony to peace 
not known where city busses fume the air 
and where planes land and take off and land 
and people hurry about, counting hours, 
minutes, seconds—too busy to claim 
the majesty of trees in their splendor 
as they bow to the morning breeze: 
sugarberry, celtis laevigata, 
of the elm family, its twigs 
slender and reddish brown, 
its lateral buds tight, appressed 
and triangular in shape.

Take a walk through Blakeley State Park; 
marvel how trees manage time, 
how they know when to berry and blossom, 
their leaves waving, dancing, and happy, 
patient and content to be where they are 
unlike humans who bustle about.

Liquidamber's an exquisite word; say it— 
and sweetgum too. Look at the family name: 
witch-hazel. It spreads with age 
as some people do, but is straight, upright. 
Observe the foliage; it knows how to dress.

The landscape of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta 
displays r é sum és: the button bush, cephalanthus, 
the bald-cypress, taxodium distichum, 
persimmon, diospyros virgiana, 
and overcup oak, quercus lyrata 
of the beech family—its simple leaf, 
oblong in shape with variable margins, 
and five to nine lobes with irregular sinuses 
that never sneeze.

Pastors should preach sermons on trees, 
tell how they suffer thunderstorms, 
tell of lightening flashes and the dapatical dawn, 
Cordial refreshment is offered in woods, 
words savored on the tongue: 
swamp tupelo, nyssa biflora, 
water hickory, carya aquiica, 
bluestem palmetto, sabal minor, 
swamp dogwood, cornus stricta. 
Come with me; let's find them.

The sun touches avid walkers' shoulders, 
warms in swirls of light. 
If only this peace, these woods, 
this swamp, these small moments 
of forever could beg forgiveness 
for hacking and burning, 
there would be no war,

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