Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a land not mine

driftwood sculpture, lesser slave lake, alberta, august 2010

sunset & reflection, lesser slave lake, alberta, august 2010

* * *

A land not mine, still
forever memorable,
the waters of its ocean
chill and fresh.
Sand on the bottom whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine,
late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pinetrees.
Sunset in the waves of ether:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.

(this translation by Jane Kenyon)

Friday, August 06, 2010

ice-fishing ii

my father & a feisty perch on a lake, near st. albert, jan. 2010

skeleton of water hemlock, near st. albert, jan. 2010

field grasses by a lake, near st. albert, jan. 2010

It is August, and I have neglected posting for two months now, I know. After I defended my PhD fieldwork proposal in mid-June, I have been summering at home in Edmonton in preparation for going to Siberia for aforementioned fieldwork. I've been making things & taking photos & thinking about things, but not really sitting down long enough to do much with them. This is a recently finished-after-many-months, very unseasonal poem.

* * *

ice fishing II*

arching sedge bows low on the

shoreline, weeping into the snow.

slice my finger open on the auger,

cut skin gaping, a flared gill.

your lake lies in winterkill,

a thousand trout white bellies up

& bursting like cold willow

stems, flickering in the dark water,

snowflakes frozen to the sand.

there are two worlds here, in

the water: one obsidian sharp,

one soft as amber. from land

i call, how are you, down there,

father? but the voice i hear

is wasp’s nest hollow, awake

and gasping for air. how

do i lure you, now, out of

this dark season? where weeds

sway as if shadows only in the

memory of bent light? o

father, it was just a leech**,

you know, who sucked a small

hole in the sky’s white flesh, let winter

bleed out, suffuse into sun –

* * *

*ice-fishing I is in the March 2008 archive (scroll down for March 13th entry)
** the leech is part of a dän k'è story i heard in the yukon, & you can read about a lovely film that incorporates the story here.