A Journey Through the Wood

Madison Barendse

The pine trees spiraled upwards in
the starlight of the wood
and pushed their roots into the stone
and spread their branches, verdant bone.
Against the night, they stood.
You walked among the solemn trees—
the lichen and the grass—
the trees which bore the centuries—
the glowing marble pass.
The marble, clear as glass. 
You leaned into the silver beams
and reached into the sky.
You caught hold of a tree branch and
you climbed the ancient bark.
The stars were as a silver sand,
each particle a spark.
You fell into the riverbed
of slowly flowing time.
You sank into the deepest blue—
you smelled the salt and journeyed through
the oceans of your mind.
You sailed and seized the endless seas,
for forty days and more,
then fell against the centuries
and wrecked upon the shore.
You climbed the cliffs into the dark.
The stars became a thousand sparks.
You spiraled up into the trees,
the starlight of the wood.
You pushed your roots into the stone
and spread your branches, verdant bone.
Against the night, you stood.
You blossomed in the wood.

Madison Barendse is 17 years old and attends Southeast High School. Her poem “Exodus” won first place in the 2022 Manatee Libraries and 805 Teen Poetry Contest.