Promise, Walking On A Woodland Trail by Rema Boscov

Rema Boscov, pastel painting by the author

Rema Boscov is an artist, teacher, musician, poet and journalist who has written for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and numerous magazines and newspapers. She has been an artist-in-residence in three national parks. She lives in Franklin County, Massachusetts. 

Promise, Walking On A Woodland Trail


A brisk wind whiffles through the pines.
It whips and lulls in cadences
announcing spring,
but not the gentle kind.

It whisks the river ripples
so the surface seems a score,
a scribbled song not realized,
a hint that herons will return,
their long slow flaps and
strong soft landings on these
now-brown grass tufts,
soon to be tall emerald crowns.

Here where the river spreads and wends
I will return to revel
as the great blue birds descend.


Into this shallow pool the river dribbles
sluicing silver sibilance
through beaver-dragged debris.

Sounds float.
Redwings toss their whistling rattles
cattail to winter-battered cattail.

Chickadees chatter.
Trickling fountains blend
with tree frogs trilling.

On the wide-spread river
no ripples jar reflections of
unmoving clouds and pines.

Like an hourglass,
water drips through piled branches,
doling out precious time.


People pass
No masks
No masks
as if the breeze were only redolent of scent,
not scare.

I step aside, walk fast, my stride
so packed with fear I wear two masks
and hide the worry in my eyes with tinted glasses,
wrap-arounds to thwart the menacing air.

Distress and then despair.
No safety even here
where birdsong floods the woods
and spring means promise.

No safety anywhere.


Brisk wind so cold
so quick that winter smashes into spring.
Where are the temperate days we’re promised
after April rains?
No promises.
A tree just crashed beside my path.
It lost its life.
I race away to savor mine.