I let out the dog and stand in the air, inhaling lungfuls of land and sea smell. A damp breeze circles my ankles. Suddenly nearby a loon cry and then another and another. On this shore we say that means a change in the weather. Usually rain. But I also hear: company in the darkness so eloquent that at once it pierces and names your loneliness. Loonsong the stitch that knits life and death and every isolated sorrow, the sound for which I’ve forever waited at the water’s edge, neither coming nor going nor yet surely staying. Continue reading Nightdark loonsong heartswail
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
We are seized by the yellow light of the fading afternoon: the way the islands flame before the setting sun. Here is winter, but there is light. Continue reading What is seen in a season of darkness
These are the things I want to remember this Remembrance Day: everything that is alive that impresses itself on my senses, not the celebratory stories of European wars and muscular bravery, the pomp and pride that says “Look what we did; this land is our land; war is sacrifice is glory.” What terrible stewards and guests we colonials have been and go on being; even when we think we’re at peace we wage war on other beings, wrecking and murdering, fissuring the earth and all of its resources in the name of conquest, ownership, profit and, ironically, “survival”–a survival that is ever more clearly on its way to choking us all. Our noisy honking drowns out the very voices to which we need to listen. Truly I do not want to study war anymore, neither on this day nor any other; its racket, its glorious tales of the seizure of territories, is not where we most need to hone what Toni Morrison, in Beloved, called our “rememories,” or remembrance of memories right now. Continue reading “All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance
Faintly the peepers shimmer. Ice has just melted in the hollows and now fog shrouds us as if hiding the tenderness of shoots and leaves and newly laid eggs from the outside world. Continue reading Now fog shrouds us
As winter recedes we find bones along the beach. The dog gnaws some of them, but not the coyote skull with its long canines and nasal passages packed with a delicate fretwork of turbinates. Continue reading The quick and the dead
We have to climb to see the sunshine. At 40,000 feet, the clouds seem like a vast snow-blasted landscape–blue shadows of the distance like linking pools of half-frozen water. It is a landscape without trees, just the long arc of the atmosphere curving away in the distance. The sun is bright and hot–it seems as if it has been days since I’ve felt its heat and blare, the sting of so much light in my eyes. Continue reading Who will watch you while you sleep?
Winter blows in.
Geese gather in the yard in advance of the ice, eating what remains of the grass. Continue reading Winter blows in
Pintails warble into the quiet air; then the sound of a rifle and its recoil. Hunting season again. I dress my doe-coloured dog in a rouge coat, pull on my gloves. Continue reading Kindred blood of all that breathes