state natural area poems #56: olson oak woods

olson oak woods is found a few miles west of the johnstown terminal moraine that marks the limit of the last glaciation in this part of wisconsin. several different oak species, some dating back to the mid 1700s, reveal the former savanna habitat that has now turned to wood due to lack of fire. there are heavy and lovely cliffs throughout, reminiscent of the cliffs at magnolia bluff in rock county not terribly far away. some prairie plants remain, though they’re all sleeping now.

thanks to the wisconsin dnr and madison metropolitan school district for tending this land.


above the hollow,

bracken spills

over limestone


the cliffs give us oaks

and flowers from days past—

quiet bedrock now

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