Everything I know about the sea and sailing I have learned from and with Marike. She does not speak in this piece, but, as in Nightwatch #1, is everywhere implied. Beneath the sound of the waves and the wind in the sails and the hum of the engine I am listening for her breath, for the sound of her stirring. I move quietly in the dark hours, so as to let her rest, every hour logging our position on paper so that should something go wrong with the power systems on the boat, we know (more or less) where we are. She does likewise as I am sleeping, sailing sailing sailing into the light. Continue reading Nightwatch #2 (on boredom)
Night or day, when at sea we are always on watch, Marike and I.
She is the skipper, the one who oversees and takes charge of the whole vessel–without her there would be neither vessel nor voyage–and I navigator and cook, but we make all of the important decisions about what to do on a passage together, including how and when to spell each other off. Continue reading Nightwatch #1 (on demons and ghosts)
We gathered rhubarb from our neighbours’ patch and close by, in a dell, I found a broad scattering of violets, the last of the season. I plucked them and dropped them into my hat; I wanted to try to make violet flower ink. Continue reading An alchemy of violets
We walk in the rain at dusk along /a broken black road frogs chanting/in the ditches…
This poem is one of a series of shortened sonnets, in which I test what happens if I compress the sonnet into 13 rather than 14 lines. It feels as if, sometimes, hurry is what happens–the poem dashes off, like a dog into the night. Continue reading Into the thrill
Most days, water holds the light. Why then have even the puddles turned bleak? Continue reading When we [will] have [been] remembered
I often feel these days as if I am losing my mind. It has something to do with the gravity of the news. And a sense of physical exhaustion so profound that one afternoon, while out for a walk, I stop, curl into a ball in a warm spot on a neighbour’s porch and sleep in the sun for half an hour. Continue reading On feelings of profound loss
Over the course of the last week everything has changed radically. In the northern hemisphere winter has officially become spring. We’ve shifted from an eerie quiet, as if collectively in Canada we were kneeling, our ears pressed to the tracks of time listening for the train of the future to come barrelling upon us, to something still more unearthly. Early closures, slow stunned walks in the sun and recommendations about how we ought to behave have become, over the course of several days, a state of emergency and civilian lockdown. Continue reading A valediction forbidding mourning (a more or less true history of the present)
Winter is far from done. Still, we are waiting./ For what? Not for whispers or intimations; /not for inspiration, but for accident–/ Continue reading Late January blues
In this strange and fecund season here at the edge of the sea, I am thinking a great deal about climate change, for its signs seem acutely evident now, all around us. We appear to be witnessing major shifts or collapses in sea bird populations. Species of fish and shellfish we’ve not seen before show up here and there, and morning and night we mark the heights and declines of the tides–they are more extreme; likewise, storms when they come carry away larger and larger chunks of various shorelines. In such a space, what, for every living thing, might be reasons for hope, for looking to a future? And what might any living thing hope for (or against)? Continue reading 14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place
I’m walking in Halifax, but I’m thinking about Mexico: smell of hot diesel on a melting pavement.
How is it that our impressions linger and layer, from one place to another? How is it that time mixes and melds in our memories? Continue reading Treading Desire Paths: Field Note #1