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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017
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Adelaide B. Shaw
Millbrook, New York, USA


Fern Glen

We park in the nature preserve near a path that leads downward. On our left is a pond edged with water lilies and lotus blossoms. Along the outer edge grow reeds and bulrushes. A familiar sound causes us to turn towards it.

an ancient poem—
a pond, a frog, a splash
widening ripples
continue through the ages
a beginning with no end

A rustle in the reeds attracts our attention again. This time, it’s a painted turtle with a shell about six inches long, moving slowly toward the pond. After watching it quietly slide into the water, we begin our descent. The dirt path is rutted and peppered with loose stones.

slow and steady
helping each other
to keep our balance;
through long years of marriage
there is still a garden

Low-growing plants fill in the spaces between mature trees, the green enlivened by occasional clusters of small pink or white blossoms. At the end of our descent is a thick growth of ferns in various sizes and species, from a single shoot of only a few inches to others two and three feet high and just as wide across.

We’re the only ones here, but others have come before us.

a hidden Eden
the songs of a coursing spring
the chirring of birds
a bench for the weary
a place for body and soul

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