TWELVE SECRETS OF THE WOODS

the umbrella that stands up spread
to show that there is a restaurant in the cellar

the manna-food that grows on the rocks
and holds up its hands in the Indian sign
of innocence so all may know how good it is

the vine that climbs above the sedge
to whisper on the wind
there are cocoanuts in my basement

the rabbit puts his hind feet down
ahead of his front ones as he runs

the squirrel buries every other nut
and who it was that planted
those shag-barks along the fence

what the woodchuck does in midwinter
and on what day

the pale villain of the open woods–
the deadly amanita–for whose fearful poison
no remedy is known

poison ivy that was once so feared–
now so lightly held by those who know

the balsam fir in all its fourfold gifts–
as Christmas tree,
as healing balm,
as consecrated bed,
as wood of friction fire

the wonderful medicine that is in the sky

the bread of wisdom,
the treasure that cures much ignorance,
that is buried in the aisle
of Jack-o-Pulpit’s Church

what walked around your tent
on the thirtieth night of your camp-out

Found in The Girl Scout Handbook, 1920

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