To loosen with all ten fingers held wide and limber
And lift up a patch. dark-green, the kind for lining cemetery
Thick and cushiony, like an old-fashioned doormat,
The crumbling small hollow sticks on the underside mixed with
And wintergreen berries and leaves still stuck to the top,--
That was moss-gathering.
But something always went out of me when I dug loose those
Of green, or plunged to me elbow in the spongy yellowish moss of
the marshes:
And afterwards I always felt mean, jogging back over the logging
As if I had broken the natural order of things in that swapland;
Distrubed some rhythm, old and of vast importance,
By pulling off flesh from the living planet;
As if I had commiteed, against the whole scheme of life, a

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)