The woods were beautiful as always, but dry. It seemed a subtle poison at the roots drained them imperceptibly of life. A want, or heightened colour, in each leaf hinted profound disease, as if the rites of generation faltered and withdrew beyond emergencies of flood and fire to deserts that no green could penetrate. I shaped my stanzas, but the form seemed trite: all metre euphemised a deepening flaw. I heard no frog calls, and the birds were fewer in species and in number. I trod ungodly glows, a covenant betrayed, a humus rotting slowly into fear.