A Nut, A Squirrel

Betty Bridgman (1916 - 1999)

From The Fringed Gentian™, Winter 1998, Vol. 49, #3.


The park, the sky oak-swept and gray,
Leaves hit the path and blow my way.
there sits a squirrel, sleek and taut,
handling a far too heavy thought,

handling an acorn it has found
after intensive search around.
I watch, and now I can envision
the awesomeness of small decision.

The nut-sweet cupful at its nose,
lifted like chalice in two paws,
could in ten nibbles be devoured--
or should it prudently be stored?

I stand here helpless to decide
if appetite should be denied.
A squirrel must weigh rewarded search
against the white months up to March.

If new to winter, nevertheless
the creature is obliged to guess
snow-depth by thickness of its coat,
send nut down h0llow tree, or throat.

Wisdom perhaps was recommending
the nut for saving, not for spending.
The squirrel decided it was not,
and at the acorn on the spot.

Winter ahead will not be hard!
I walk light-hearted winterward.