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Willow by Galloway Creek

by Harry Hunter, © 2009

. . .

A cool front this late September afternoon

Buffets about a lingering Monarch butterfly

On its way down to Mexico for winter.

My dog chases rabbits from the river cane

Into a planted field of Big Bluestem native grass,

Where “turkey foot” seed heads wave overhead.

A little ways off the beaten path

Stands a wise old willow tree, the biggest I’ve seen,

Its upper branches flailing in the wind,

Its lower limbs bent to the ground by their weight.

One of the latter forms a perfect contoured seat

For momentary senior contemplation

Of oncoming unstoppable autumn.

Darkening Woods

by Harry Hunter, © 2009

. . .

Here in the autumn of earthly life

Those words could signify dying—

Like the snowy woods Frost stopped by—

But tonight they have taught me a lesson:

Never set out on a long hike at dusk

In November under threatening clouds

With no flashlight just to unleash a dog

That loves to run wild and free

Because dead leaves carpet the forest floor,

Disguising the trail even in good light

And hiding it well, once lost at night,

Unless you mean to make a memory.

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