Columbus Day

His sigh ruffles leaves

in all the oak trees north
of the Mediterranean.

Carpentry sculpts ships to fling
at continents yet undreamed.

Across the sea the best Christian boasts

of being the least tired man, his busy ax,
like Bunyan’s, a blur.

Pines yield to pastures fertilized

by grief and the detritus

of retreat.

Barefoot children don hard-soled shoes

to endure in cold classrooms the admonishment
of Mrs. Browning: “Pan, Pan is dead.”

[Eric Pinder is the author of a book of nature writing and several books for children, including If All the Animals Came Inside, Cat in the Clouds, and How to Share with a Bear. He lives in the woods of New Hampshire. Find him online at]