Lindsay Packer


come into the great world
bearing the old house of food
as the bean does.
cast off the old house amid better food.
find your supply of nourishment
even in the dark, fresh breeze of unseen atoms.

we shall begin our journey in the region of the great lakes and
the st lawrence river valley in the northern forest
where it broadens out and extends
from the atlantic to the pacific ocean.

foresters call this the boreal (boh-ree-al)
and this is the method bird students use.

coniferous wood, wide valleys
a two-meter thick layer
along the streamline

to many people, there is nothing interesting about the woods

did you pass by trees?
what kind were they?
perhaps you’re one of those people
who just doesn’t notice things.
the black, soft earth, the ferns and mosses
and the fungus plants

lichens are sometimes called mosses and
are the plants that grow on fences.

tall, straight trunks serve as stays,
just as ribs are to leaves.
generally stalks and trunks stand up of themselves,
but there are some which cannot.
these are called vines.

what birds to expect.
what varieties are suitable for shady areas?
others may be objectionable because their roots clog sewers.
be sure to make note of the general condition of each one as
good, fair, or poor.


FILAMENTS, MASSES, COLONIES grew out of a fascination with scientific textbooks from the 1950s. I imagine children encountering explanations, instructions, and rules about their world as they learn life like it's a language spoken only by adults.