Bench in the woods

Bench in the WoodsI built a seat in the woods –
two posts dug down into the firm earth
and one stout plank strong enough
to last a hundred winters –
this marks my place in the woods,
below the circling buzzard,
shaded by hazel, beech and tardy oak,
bordering the badger’s well-worn track.

It is here that I pause. A poet said,
‘I taste a heaven in this brief rest’ –
though truth be told, time does not press,
there are no clocks in the wood
simply the sun and the seasons
the daily compass of passing shadows
and the fingers of a dying light
before the evening dew.

From this small wooded hill
I have listened to the valley echo
the cattle and the farmer’s dog –
but here, in this secret world,
I hear the rustle of birds and rabbits
then… silence… preparing
as the faintest stir of wind taps
leaf against leaf.

It is evening entering the woods
bearing the scent of meadows
brushing bluebells, skirting tangled roots
ducking under beams of oak
serving a feast of sound and scent
– it is here that I have found my place
– it is here that our paths will cross.

                                                 Tony French

P.S. I really did build this bench in our woods, and we do sit there….