Fiberglass for birch tree bark,
a coat of paint for resin pitch,
and plastic trim for cedar wood
compose the modern wander-boat.
Nonetheless there’s craftsmanship
in building plugs and curing molds,
sculpting sand to form a shell
that tumbles life down waterways.
A ghost of the old ways filled with gear
caressed by ancient subtle hands,
appraised and held in fair esteem,
the new unnatural ways aside.
Like driftwood on the open surf,
the fiber-foam cocoon is cast
and swept along on buoyant waves,
tossed by every twist of wind.
Fueled by swollen alpine lakes,
mirrors to the craggy peaks,
countless glaciers, ponds and streams,
sprung from clouds and hidden springs,
an everlasting thunder rolls
that carves an everlasting path,
a stormy rush of living things
that slakes the stormy rush of life.
Firs collapse and boulders plunge
into the undulating surge,
swept across the winding earth
to strike with titan force the sea,
and clutched against the serpents back
a fleck of lost humanity,
immersed in sprawling majesty,
grips the currents deep and black.
Black bears peer from root-filled banks;
ravens watch from stands of spruce;
eagles gaze from sudden bluffs;
a bull moose stares from out the wash.
All the dreamtime creatures wake,
bodied forth like smoky signs—
deep claw prints in frosted mud,
fang marks on the aspen’s trunk.
Each regards the floating soul
that wanders broken in their midst,
a well of rage and twisted grief
that echoes through the howling wind.
And each respects his long release
until the blood cakes on his lips
with massive silence like a mist
that rises up to steady him.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Published in Art Arena in June of 2006.
This is a trisect poem.
Comments about this poem (Guardian by Erin Thomas )
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