What do I care
that the stream is trampled,
the sand on the stream-bank
still holds the print of your foot:
the heel is cut deep
I see another mark
on the grass ridge of the bank —
it points toward the wood-path
I have lost the third
in the packed earth.

But here
a wild-hyacinth stalk is snapped:
the purple buds — half ripe —
show deep purple
where your heel pressed

A patch of flowering grass,
low, trailing —
you brushed this:
the green stems show yellow-green
where you lifted — turned the earth-side
to the light:
this and a dead leaf-spine,
split across,
show where you passed

You were swift, swift!
here the forest ledge slopes —
rain has furrowed the roots
Your hand caught at this;
the root snapped under your weight

I can almost follow the note
where it touched this slender tree
and the next answered —
and the next.

And you climbed yet further!
you stopped by the dwarf-cornel —
whirled on your heels,
doubled on your track.

This is clear —
you fell on the downward slope,
you dragged a bruised thigh — you limped —
you clutched this larch

Did your head, bent back,
search further —
clear through the green leaf-moss
of the larch branches?

Did you clutch,
stammer with short breath and gasp:
wood-daemons grant life —
give life — I am almost lost.

For some wood-daemon
has lightened your steps
I can find no trace of you
in the larch-cones and the underbrush.
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