• Terra Observer

Ode to the Southern Ontario Carolinian Forest


Charles David, Contributor

This is the forest Carolinian, not quite primeval

Deciduous legions marching North from Lake Erie

Along waterways plied by Oneida,

Aamjiwnaang, Chippewas of the Thames and Algonquin

In streamlined canoes of Birch and White Cedar

propelled by paddles of firm Ash and Cherry

Startling trout and pickerel in dark waters below.

A heavenly orchestra sings overhead

Sung by Blue Jay and Goldfinch, and blackbird winged red

Compositions of owls by the Blue Heron they’re led

As the Downy woodpecker keeps time with his head

Under mighty umbrellas of Walnut they pass

Magnificent Oak, long-suffering Ash

Of Beech, Tulip, and soft Sassafras.

Strong hickory, chestnut, and maple

Became barn beams, beds and bassinets as time passed.

On the pine needled carpet of soft forest lawn

Scamper, rabbits and groundhogs and beautiful fawn

Squirrels of black, brown, and grey

to the wily coyote often fall prey

While the scent of wildflowers takes your breath away

Carolinian forests grow smaller each year

As farmland and cities draw continually near.

But the earth will survive, of that have no fear

If the upright creatures learn to hold nature dear.

Visit Carolinian forests in Southern Ontario, between Lakes Erie, Huron and Ontario. Among them Wheatley and Rondeau Provincial Parks, Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, Ausable river valley, Pinery Park and Port Franks. See caroliniancanada.ca.


Terra Observer Magazine is the passion project of two soon-to-be journalism grads who care deeply about Ontario's natural spaces and advocate for their preservation for future generations.

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