Lie on your back among those giant redwoods if you can,
or failing that amid wild Caledonian pines,
then turn your lazy gaze towards the canopy's green shade,
catch with your dazzled eye the filtered sun still streaming
though fuzzy now, a kind of blinding haze.
You're looking at, although you will not see, the world's
last untouched wilderness.
A small boy in his dreams might climb like fabled Jack,
the tallest tree,
to find, not monsters, no colossus, but an Eden unalloyed,
familiar as any on the ground... and yet these beetles seem
to have a different dress code from the ones he's known;
these ants have never ruined an alfresco meal -
they're not the type;
for this is nature taking a new road, exploring What-if?
variations on her ancient themes.
All this the small boy might assimilate - yet not
be conscious of the pearls he's chanced upon.
And if you fall asleep on that soft debris, let it be, for
will not compete with this: here roam vast herds that only
birds have seen,
here geckos dart from dark organic caves in moonlit forays
for their prey
and grey mud sirens squelch the aerial ooze in search of
Small lakes and bogs there are where trunks branch out
in threes or fours,
or those same hollows hold a metre's depth of soil -
out of which come pygmy tribes of rowan, mountain ash or oak,
concealed from you, for nursed in deep parental crooks
in lordly boughs
or piggy-backed on those great shoulders high above the
Nor will you see their Palace of Versailles - its fine facade
for long an untried thought,
its rooms cool tents of Bedouin richness carpeted with moss.
Soft furnishings of matted ferns, webs, mesh
and mucous membranes that the minibeasts have left,
line everywhere the unbuilt walls; large deadwood sculptures,
carved by unseen hands, are set among the flowers;
and from the hollow branches tumble fruits to tempt a guest:
bog whortleberry, grape, red current and the rest,
along with bold-hued fungi, peas, grey lichen, beans and
lentils - richness
far beyond what you might once have dreamed or guessed.
There's nothing in this pristine world of what you might
Here species show their other sides, swap lifestyles for a
Who would have thought to find such widespread colonies
of red gilled bugs and water boatmen high among the leaves?
But now we've found them... ah, how can we leave them
We take our bows and arrows, fire our ropes
and calmly walk the smoothest trunks to those high balconies..
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