The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Schroomers like myself watch for swallows,

the first sign of Spring when merkels pop up

quiveringly erect under old apple trees

striving to penetrate cracks of incandescent sun-washed

branches hovering under a veil of golden mist.

Conical or yellow, morels, a dry land fish, succulent

in a gribiche sauce with a bottle of Barolo Barbaresco wine.

Foraging for day lily sprouts, wild sorrel and fiddlehead ferns

I gather clusters of dainty chanterelles showing off

yellowish- orange sweet meat like blooming bouquets

at a debutante’s ball when she descends an auricular stairway

to an awaiting prince.

Inhaling the scent of balsam pine with five

malachite green needles, slender fingers of the tree

stealthily embrace me with an aura of divine intervention..

I recline on a bank of star moss

and say to myself: “this is the life!”

I shun false morels and deadly amanita

whose poisonous deception doesn’t belong

in this untroubled oasis.

They’re like paunchy movers and shakers,

toxic architects of doom who smile while sending

boys off to mindless slaughter, cannon fodder for waving flags.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605