Tricksters Around the Bend – poem from Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania


Paul Belz
Copyright 2012 Paul Belz

Daddy and Derf, your ghosts rest in shade,
deep in lime moss. You glance from behind
straight beeches and oaks, stare from the center of roots
that lift a fir above a dead stump.
Have you become little gray toads
skipping through mud, or cool air that flows
through limestone cracks? Were you ice
that split these cliffs? Dad with sea chanteys.
Shakespeare, Hemingway, poker and dice;
Derf and the Grateful Dead, Gurdijeff,
frayed jeans, and Clockwork Orange smirk;
dudes who loved rattlesnakes, lichens, and stars-
are you deer watching from green shadows,
eagles in pines? Maybe you’re manic lightning,
pileated woodpeckers’ slow thuds,
murmur from the almost silent stream,
and birdsong’s echo through this silence.
Dad, with your Beethoven, hot chili and port;
Derf with your Frank Zappa and Rolling Rock;
men who loved these bear and fungus woods-
you tumble in quiet rain

For Joe Belz (1903-1962) and Derf Reever (1953-1976)


About pelicanguy6

I'm an environmental educator and writer currently based in Oakland, California. I plan to include a hiking/nature journal on this blog, along with articles on environmental education, travel articles, poetry, and spontaneous thoughts. I am a passionate hiker and camper and a world traveler. I really enjoy cooking vegetarian feasts, and specialize in veggie German meals for Oktoberfest.
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