My mother always told me to stay out of Maple Woods. The things that you’ll discover there are certainly not good. My mother always told me this, and I understood: Trespassing there is dangerous.

Avoid the Maple Woods.

*******

First, save yourself from worrying

There are no bears out there,

The worst things aren’t wolf howls

Or the spiders skinned in hair.

The worst things aren’t monsters

With jagged claws that reave.

The worst things aren’t shadows

That rustle in the leaves.

The Maple Woods is not the place

For playing children’s games,

For any ball that’s lost there

Is a ball the forest claims.

If you are a climber,

Don’t go climbing in the trees

Hide-and-seek is out as well;

Can’t hide from trees that see.

*******

My mother always told me to stay out of Maple Woods, And now I’m telling this to you; so listen if you could? Everyone should know this, my words all understood: Trespassing here is dangerous.

Avoid the Maple Woods.

*******

If you are lost in Maple Woods,

It is best you try to leave,

For if you dare stop moving,

Roots will wrap around your feet

And as they wrap around you

They will plant you in the ground,

A sense of dread will fill you

As your skin grows hard and brown.

Your arms will stiffen; branch apart

You’ll reach into the sky.

It’s then the bark surrounds you,

‘Till you’re full of rings inside.

And leaves will grow out from you

At a speed you won’t believe,

The sticky sap will fill you

As you grow into a tree.

*******

My mother always told me to stay out of Maple Woods, For everywhere a maple stands, there once a person stood. And you will hear two sounds there, both certainly not good: You’d be best to not hear either.

Avoid the Maple Woods.

*******

The first one of these awful sounds

Is meant for you and I:

Consider it a warning

That those trees themselves imply.

The horrid sounds surround you,

The ringing screams of trees.

A foreboding awful sound

Carried here upon the breeze.

The second terrorizing sound:

The kind that frightens trees,

Is not the nesting of birds

Nor the buzzing buzz of bees.

It’s not the sound of chainsaws

Nor the whooshing of an ax.

No…

*******

It’s the sound of Maple Syrup Men:

Pounding in their taps.