See "Ancient Arts," published in Hawaii Writers Guild Literary Review, Latitudes Third Edition 2022


Green Oaks

By Margaret Zacharias

When sun-tides ran strong in our seedling blood

And portent stars spun magic spells above

Our blessed tribe, we ate mushrooms, we

Lit camp fires, danced all night when men came home 

Alive. We laid our heads in leafy beds

And slept secure beneath enchanted boughs.

We sprang from surging waters, early light.

We frolicked like innocent naiads, sleek 

Young dryads. Your eternity was ours.

But then we heard the whisper of the breeze.

It sang temptation through those soft green trees. 

We acorn infants scented worldly winds

Of destiny. We scattered north and south, 

Flew east, blew west. We left you, after all.


Oh, lady of the lake, do you still ride 

Your legendary barque upon that tide? 

Do faithful oarsmen yet row at your side? 

Do stags still collide on that rocky plot, 

To capture the crown, to win the fair bride? 

And did the king give you your Camelot? 

Or were you forced to wander far and wide?


Abandoned prairie Eden, you recede,

You disappear into the mists of Time.

Our trunks grow thick, our bark turns rough, 

We dwell like mythic green men trapped inside 

Their ancient trees. Did magic, too, depart?

But wait. Perhaps it’s just our view that changed,

Perspective that has shifted. Yes, below, 

Beyond, we still can glimpse our Avalon. 

The clouds disperse, new seedlings freely sprout 

Down on that mossy forest floor. See where?

The young fawns caper there. It’s we, ourselves

Transformed, who spread the verdant canopy 

To shelter all. Green Oaks, though leaves begin 

To fall (a sorcerer’s illusion cast,

That winter death approaches), Now our roots 

Revive. The precious sap runs yet, to thrive.

Green Oaks, we have become at last, The Wise.



Copyright Margaret King Zacharias, 2012
An earlier version of this poem was published in 40 Years After Catch
Special Edition, Catch Literary Journal 
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois