Utter Stillness Rules These Woods

By Matthew Brown

Like Frost’s snowy evening, only quieter.
The horses under my hood will never question
stopping here now, nor in these anonymous times
would I have any idea whose woods these are
or where his house is, if I did not know
these woods were set aside.

Utter stillness rules these woods;
the silence is solid; darkness
wells up in me as joy.  There is not
a twig in motion.  Ragged bare
battered tops of trees take their rest
in a glow of night.  The only movement is
a drift of crystal flakes that meander
soundless to their places in the
banks of the forest floor.  Underground,
in hollows of trees, many creatures
rest and winter; roots, buds, bulbs
lie loaded with explosive springtime.
Would that such an energized silence
ruled in me.

Beyond the window
a white appears as if from fog,
a white containing its own light.
Outside, every tree, every branch
and each dry weed is frosted
with a condensation of snow;
seeds that cling to the ash
are now glass ornaments,
more than ornaments.
It’s as though the waters themselves
had stood up as trees
filled with light.

Reprinted with permission of the poet from ACRES Land Trust Quarterly, Vol. 51 – No. 1