Cathedral of Ferns

Time is moss-green, damp. It lies
on branches, serpentine. It sways
to some breath we can’t feel,
a noiseless call;
and sheds its skin
to show a newer green.

Anachronisms, we walk here
as thin as ghosts, our inconstant color
shadowless. No sound
laps this island
of years, but the drip
of rain from a tree-top

so far above us we can count
to ten as each drop falls. Silent,
we watch green wrap away
the hour, our day,
summer and an age
of mind; and scan the huge

hemlock giant near us, to find
it rooted in a dead tree-trunk. Sustained
by truisms of pattern,
form, we return
grateful into sun,
backs cold from the green garden.

– Beth Bentley, In the Rain Forest

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