Spirits in the Grove – a poem by Reed Venrick

Spirits in the Grove

Spectators: in this painting, we see a man
Looking much like Rene Magritte,
Wandering down a row of jade leaves,
Easel on his back—around him stands
A grove of orange trees growing between
A country road and an aqua Florida lake.

Digs deep his easel in the sand—sketches
With haste, draws with the hope of getting
Down the most exciting designs of trees
That assume the shape of birds. The images
He records shows outlines of other animals,
A few of ones he’s observed before—seen

In clouds above the Rub-Al-Khali or resting
In the steamy forests of the Amazon delta
As he cruised Marajo Isle on a fishing boat.
He gazes into the evergreen branches and
Boughs of the trees, the heads of green
Parrots, yet with bodies of tigers, and

Then the head of a bald eagle with
An alligator body—he hurries down another
Row—pausing at the sight of a torso
Of Pegasus flying with branching wings.
Asking himself: how is it possible
That shapes of animals can manifest

Their images in trees of leaves? Do
These forms suggest the souls of birds
Caught in a time warp beyond what
Human beings can comprehend? Or
Perhaps they show designs of animals
From protohistory times? Or animals

To appear on earth millions of years after
The pithy page of human history has
Melted into Florida’s sands? Magritte’s
Fevered mind ponders such questions of
Metaphysics, but he knows he must
Hurry, so he dumps his easel—grabs

His I-phone and photographs more designs
He sees among orange trees—because Magritte
Has wandered these rows of citrus groves
Before and knows that with the passing
Of the night, these animal and bird spirits
That shape the orange trees will fly at dawn

To join the clouds for mythical designs that
Eternity passes along to illustrate for those
with vision keen enough to visualize.


Reed Venrick lives in South Florida and usually writes poems with nature motifs.

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