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Conversation in the Forest

Clear, unscalable, ahead

Rise the Mountains of Instead,

From whose cold cascading streams

None may drink except in dreams.

—Auden, "Autumn Song"

Opaque, impossible to read

Springs the Forest of Indeed,

In whose impenetrable woods

You say you think you've got the goods?

And may suppose that you're at home

Plucking mushrooms from the loam—

Except it's toadstools heave in sight

(For convenience, they're all white).

To us the forest reaches out;

Of that embrace there is no doubt.

A hulking redbud overhangs

The deck with its offensive bangs,

Me, though, I feel safe down here—

It clear there's little I've to fear

Since I'll be toast before the ire

Of the supposed forthcoming fire.

I’ve written verse for Xi Jinping;

I've begged Volod’ka P. to sing.

But neither pays me any heed

In this great Forest of Indeed!

Why not, big guys, get back to me—

I might have what you need see,

You never know! The trees say, too,

That—it seems, because of you—

Those now impatient little sprouts

In coming days will loose the louts

And for want of attestation

Put an end to conversation.

June 9, 2024


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