Chaos in the Forest

Chaos in the Forest

A poem by Joyce Chery

Through the chilly months of COVID-19,
I observed the central PA forest and boy, it was serene!
With the branches bare, plant skeletons can finally be seen.

The trees are erect and the branches are straight
Their architecture predetermined by fate
But if you squint, you will soon see
The chaos disturbing the obedient trees

A tangle of thin branches, attach to anything in sight
They wrap, they grasp, they do everything but bite
They twist, they twine
They wrap and they climb

Disturbing the peace, is of course, the woody vines.


Joyce enjoying the chaos in the forest.



The Lichenarium

The Lichenarium

A poem by Klara Scharnagl

Thank you to all the places,
That, knowingly or not, allowed
Explorer’s trespass, whose eyes caught,
While notes were furiously scribbled,
Their cryptic quarry.
The scraping of field knives
The hammering of chisels
The folding of paper packets at dusk
Against the backdrop of frog and insect chorus

Thank you to the border crossing
That stopped plants, soil, dung, blood
But not the lichens –
Air dried, considered benign
Now safe in their cool dark cabinets

Thank you to the rocks and trees
The many substrates that supported
These strange creatures
Then, chipped and hewn,
To collect the stories of
The place that once had been

Thanks to the signposts, recipes, lore
Thanks to remaining mostly overlooked
But to those who stopped to notice
To, with hand lenses, illuminate
Thanks to all who came before
Who sought to understand
These tough yet brittle forms
These mysteries symbiotic

To those forms most wonderful
And those more deeply hidden
To your ponderful slow growth
And to your medicine
The weaving of the hyphae
The photosynthesis
The lichen as a landscape
And all who dwell within

Behold the Lichenarium
And the lichens waiting there
Of your names and of your stories
We will take the utmost care

Before we step into this library
We take pause our thanks to give
To all that are of lichens
That once did, and now still, live.