Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Wood Anemones

by Donald Goodbrand Saunders

So easily ravelled
in a child’s mouth
to ‘wooden enemies.’
An innocence not
so easily disarmed.
Woods were dreams then
of refuge and dread
where shadows crept,
and how the forests trembled
when the stick men marched!
The road out of memory
was a rutted timber track.
In time we learned
of boundless forests to the East,
Poland and Belarus,
how beyond Minsk these little flowers
are so numerous the woods
are named for them– Kurapaty,
how they carpet the springtime
forest floor so densely,
the walks and picnic sites
and the five hundred grave pits
of the fifty, one hundred, two hundred thousand –
(they guess, but who could number them?
Who would kneel
to count wood anemones?)
Flowers of the shaded places, nemorosa,
the wooden enemies
have their poppies now and the murdered
your bone-white constellations.