Forest Bathing

You stand beneath this canopy of trees,
surrender will, hold still.   You close your eyes
and listen as the rustling of the leaves
and lapping breeze-blown waters tranquilize.
Inhaling deeply, you can breathe the smell
of dew-damp soil, the scent of pungent pine,
organic emanations.  All is well,
you’re in the zone in nature’s forest shrine.
Permit your eyes to open, now you see
the beauty of extraordinary things:
moss-covered rocks in shades of verdigris,
sun-dappled flapping of some insect wings.
Immerse yourself in all your senses, feel
the peace of this retreat restore and heal.


In the Forests of Michoacan State, Mexico

These Monarchs by the millions migrate here:
From Canada to Mexico they fly
and reach the same location every year
for winter hibernation.  Do-or-die,
along the way the butterflies must breed
so that their offspring can complete the quest.
They lay their eggs on milkweed, and they feed
upon these plants.  Arriving now, they rest,
survive on sanctuary rocks and cling
to forest branches, where they flutter-dance.
Bold lines of black on every orange wing
define the lepidopteron romance.
This is a delicate kaleidoscope
of shifting colors on the wings of hope.


Diamond Dust*

Precipitation when the sky is clear?
This weather is incredible, a rare
anomaly of winter’s atmosphere,
when tiny crystals tumbling through the air
reflecting sunlight to unwary eyes
appear as glitter, flashing out of flakes
to wake delighted viewers with surprise.
Spellbinding in effect, it tricks and takes
the staring watchers to a cloud of jewels.
Such precious pixie powder — sparkling motes —
enticing, mesmerizing — miniscule —
such priceless particles in frozen floats!
A spritely wand of Nature waves some ice
while wondering mortals glimpse some paradise.

*Diamond Dust is a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals.  This meteorological phenomenon forms under clear skies and is sometimes referred to as clear-sky precipitation.


Betsy Hughes’s passion for poetry began when she was an undergraduate at Vassar College and was fostered during thirty years of teaching high school English at The Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio.  In retirement she enjoys participation in poetry groups and readings.  Betsy especially appreciates classical poetry forms.  Her book of sonnets entitled Breaking Weather, 2013 winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition, was published in 2014 by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press. She lives in Dayton with her retired English professor husband, with whom she holds lively discussions and debates about poetry.

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3 Responses

  1. Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

    Forest bathing is taking off in Ireland, indeed with poetry the “Bards in the Woods” movement is bringing it all over the country!

  2. Debbie Johnson

    I love the use of enjambment and caesura in the first poem. Of all the marvelous lines:

    This is a delicate kaleidoscope
    of shifting colors on the wings of hope.

    These are my favorite. Enjoyable poems.


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