Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, (1)
"They paved paradise," sang Joanie Mitchell in "Big Yellow Taxi." There are no taxis in the first line of this poem, but the highway is surely paved, exemplifying industrial society. Does a natural paradise still exist alongside or "just off" this manmade environment?
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. (2)
Already we've left the pavement behind, finding ourselves in a grassy area at twilight. Creating an aura of enticing mystery, the personification of twilight reflects an imaginative impulse, as the speaker's awareness connects with the world of nature. The word "softly" makes the natural scene even more appealing.
They have come gladly out of the willowsTo welcome my friend and me. (5-6)
Ambassadors of the natural world, the ponies are decidedly friendly toward the human visitors. Their welcome is inclusive, allowing for continued friendship between humans ("my friend and me") as well as between ponies and humans. There's no hint of danger—apparently nature isn't out to get us in this poem.