Karen Solie

Rookie (1966 / Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan)

The Flat Rock Light - Poem by Karen Solie



By Patrick Watson

Out in the Sound the bell-buoy, flat, insists.
Clang when you sleep, clang when you wake.

This day, you woke to spoken words,
Spoken and written, too: 'LISTEN! Fenton! '

But when you found the early version printed
On a board, it said, not 'LISTEN! Fenton! '
But, mildly, just 'Cher Fenton, ' nothing urgent,
Nothing to command the eye.

The landscape through the six-paned window was the same:
The tufts of grass, the rock, the drying nets
MacLaren's skiff upturned, haze on the sea -
So why the sudden urgence now?
Why 'LISTEN! Fenton! '? Why
The exclamation marks?

Peering through the six panes once again,
(The prisms of this dream) you seek a clue
Among the tufts, the sea, the upturned skiff,
The shrouded form of Flat Rock Light,
Out in the Sound.

And there it is. You knew before you saw it.
Of course. Down in the corner of the frame.
A dark and shapeless form, not there before,
Has started its slow growth towards your house.

Not dark, so much,
As, simply... without light.

It will, on its present track
Of lava-shelving vectors
Insist and swell, flatten the tufts,
Press on the panes, Blot out the rock,
Obscure the nets, eclipse the skiff,
And then at last occlude the faint and distant double flash
Of Flat Rock Light, and the flat-tongued heartbeat clang
Of that relentless bell.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 30, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, December 17, 2010

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