Eagle Scout Project
by Alan Gann

Brent from Troop 753
built these benches along the Bittern Trail
so I might pause
where the rare-glimpsed beavers lodge
and mask-faced wood duck swim.

And he carved
the words of Wendell Berry on a wooded plank
so I might find
the peace of wild things in the still water
and vibrant chickadees.

A flitting marsh wren
lands beneath the bench and pecks at my bootlace
as if I belonged
in this swamp where forethought is a stranger
and mournful cries subsumed by need.

I do not claim brotherhood with the sulking coyote, ever alert deer or passing bobcat, but perhaps this winter day they recognize something untamed that does not disturb the blue heron nor rustle the brown-stemmed reeds.

Black and white ducks
arc low to land with a brief splash to swim
among the lily pads
but I will not lift these binoculars
nor search my pockets for their name.

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