Poetry By John Cannon


The Lowly Ones
Poetry By John Cannon

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The Lowly Ones
Poetry By John Cannon

Older,
unsteady,
fragile bones
and less-resilient muscles,
 
No longer
romping
care-free
on these lovely woodland trails,
 
Have to watch my step
can’t keep my head up
in the canopy
and sky-view beyond;
 
But sweet old Mother Nature
has saved some treats for me,
delicacies I skipped
and flew over in younger days.
 
Such a variety
of lush mosses,
from brightest yellow
to deepest brown,
 
And each clump of moss
a miniature forest in itself ―
tiny plants
intricately woven,
with lace-like branchlets
and miniscule leaflets.
 
And on nearly every lowly surface
beautiful lichens of pastel hues,
magic combinations of algae and fungi
testifying to the pureness of air in these woods.
 
The fungi themselves,
in every shape and color,
growing from ground and stumps
and sides of still-live trees,

Heralding
a miraculous
non-photosynthesizing
form of life.
 
But the greatest lowly treats
are the astounding displays of ferns:
from the tiniest rock ferns and spleenworts
to the stalwart rugged bracken ferns;
 
Some patches of ferns
stretching as far as one can see,
greening up the entire forest floor
 
and tugging my mind
back to the ancient earth
when ferns were king
before flowering plants evolved.
 
How grateful I am
that now I must pay close attention
to the woodland floor,
 
Reaping the benefits
of this delightful
lowly world;
 
And, because I’m slow and quiet,
there’s frosting on this cake
as I hear the heart-grabbing call
of a distant wood thrush.