POEM – Jack in the Green by Peter Allsop

"I knew he watched from among the foliage"

In younger days I walked the woods,
That spoke the language of birds and earth
And searched for him whose name I did not know.
Yet even then, in childhood games
I knew he watched from among the foliage,
His leaf mask smiling through
The scented blossom
Of those joyous infant years.

In the brook I paddled
Near my grandma’s cottage,
Forging up-stream in search of its source.
A waterfall I found
That tumbled into a pool,
Where trout flashed
Like silver stars
In the depths of its dark mystery.

This he showed me,
Him whose name I did not know.
This fountain of knowledge;
This secret fount of childhood dream
That seems strangely blurred now,
With the passage of two score years.

Yet still I glimpse him
In woodland glades
Or in lonely copses
That crown our hollow hills.
Now we smile in recognition:
Yet through the ferny gloom
I witness in his wise eyes
A sense of loss,
Deeper than
The void of space
And the passage of dying stars.