The Boy And The Bear

(Boy, Lost in Woods, Says Bear Kept Him Company – CNN)

(“I don’t want to cast aspersions on the child but I think (this) little boy had a fantasy. . .” – Chris Servheen, bear researcher at the University of Montana.)

(…are you there? Mr. Bear? – Johnson/Blaney)

Having lived
two long years on his planet,
and learned of legs
and arms
and play…
a little boy once
wandered away.

Bright wonder rang few bells
of warning
and the sailor set to sea,
unawares on summer’s morning,
grand adventure teases tragedy.
Most very young don’t know that yet,
being aware not hours enough
to learn all the things
they’ll never forget.

Engaged at the study
of fluttering,
led by butterflies,
The boy forgot what mother feared,
(no suprise)
until brother and sister and brother
disappeared,
far from sight, out of mind.

He found himself behind,
in thickening forest,
surrounded by an unfamiliar chorus
of grasping dark and twisting vine.
It was
way past dinnertime.

I imagine
every creeping, crawling crunch,
scary, fantastic, new,
lit his world again spectacular
as fairy tale and fable,
heard from story-books,
came true
in the way a small child is best able
to make them do.
Such wide-eyed life amateurs,
eager to seek what’s real,
yet yearn for comfort’s ordered breast,
knowing how home and hearth
feel.

The sun went down,
the moon came up,
the moon went down,
the sun came up,
the sun went down,
the moon came up
and still,
of his whereabouts there being no sign,
the wilding wood
proved good
at hiding a boy too small
to find.

Until,
one day after forever
plus a further while,
deep in the quiet of tangled trees,
a tremulous quiver,
“Mama?” brought a smile
and he’s found!
Weary searchers loosed their frowns,
ran toward the sound,
scooped the missing traveler
up, shared him all around.

Papa sat proud,
with the child on one knee,
as the sheriff grinned,
“What’s done has finished,
happily”
and listened to the questions multiply,
“So… just exactly how’d
a fragile child get by?”

When asked, “Was it lonely there,
in that shadow, by a tree?”,
the little boy spoke of a bear,
who kept him company.

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