It was about the time the first
poplar leaves turn yellow.
The cottonmouth, thick as a muscular arm,
slid into the water at my feet.
The marsh burst into autumn.
Motionless in the rushes,
a mother doe and her fawn stared
at me, necks slender, eyes intent.
Your heart would have overflowed.
The beaver arched its glossy
fan of a tail in the far shallows.
I looked in vain for its mate as
it disappeared, wild and beautiful,
into the black water, out of reach.
- Ralph Earle