The News predicted days for rain with heat;
supposedly the driest time of year.
Outside, my shirt would snatch and to stick to it—
my skin—but they had called us out for fear
against some future fire. I calmly trudged
down long flights of stairs—as ground grew near
I grew excited!—the workday now I judged
disposable; a welcome break in time,
a pinprick point, a final force that nudged
me out from many months that groped like grime—
I birthed myself into a brilliant light.
My eyes finally adjusted—it was sublime
euphoria for a long moment; bright
day announced itself, as trees I’d forgotten
were there, now basked with me in loss of night.
“They had captured my spirit” as something rotten
crept away from thought—I was again
as neighbor with the earth and others beholden.
Something stirred the elements, then the rain
fell gently on our assembly. Lesser sports
evading this dashed back into their pain
avoiding confrontation, back to forts
that they imagined kept them cold and safe.
While those of us who stayed, became dangerous sorts
that forgot to return, despite the comfort of reports.
Across a great and wasted land of empty dirt
And sand that clung of dry and bitter taste in mouth
And sun that had me baked beneath my bleached shirt
I finally passed my struggle through this dreary drought
Which after many perils there I finally saw
Primeval forest’s edge that I’d so thirstily sought
Whose welcome morning dew at edge of leafy maw
Revealed to me with slow and languid welcome grace
It’s furry denizen first to greet me. There by claw
There hung! And so I cried “Oh Sloth! Allow me pass
Oh Sloth! I would to know that one who is your mistress
So fine! I’ve heard so much her wondrous legend was
So fine! This wondering of I’d know in greatest gladness
Whose eyes I’ve dreamt with Oh! So long! I’d finally see!”
And then I paused, (for Sloths I know do move with slowness.)
He hung there by his claws upon that welcome tree
And with slow purpose passed to me his sleepy gaze
While blinked there at me once, then twice, then finally three.
(That number done) he slowly turned to me his face
“Oh you! I know would wait and want what she reveals
This forest covers her so sadly with such grace
And many adventurers here that sought with vain appeals
Could not achieve her friendship fey that they would know
For to be worthy here her pain to you must feel!
For these two qualities she has, the first of joy to show
How life would dance before your eyes and make you glad
Another then that marks the sadness ‘neath her glow”
I sat there, paused and thoughtful, placed with head on hand
And thought of what this quandary could to me achieve
And finally knew what mystery lay upon this land.
For though those many that would try to her deceive
I knew of how this forest played, and made me grieve
That knew Her Truth and that, and that alone receive.