En Plein Air

The lily pads touch the earth
Of their own dreams

A dragonfly threads my sight
Through the border reeds

The light on marsh water
Is like the sun in flower

The flowering light
Is like the marsh on fire

Now with the treeline
Sinking like a boat

At the bottom of night
The moon begins to float

Nature Revisited

A deer family plunging across rapids
In a drama intensified by a storm surge

Osprey awash in spray
Of wings and prey
A peregrine racing a coastline

At sunset the wildflowers
Gather their own bunches of light

Wood ducks
Splash into a forest pond
One announcement of birth after another

A gar pike
Ancient as the river
Alive as it is dead

A fox snake
Like a twisting fire
Burning out in the grass

Orchard orioles
Round out the ripening

Childhood Revisited

For orange jewelweed one flower
Is still a flowering plant

The youngest deer of the forest
Hear everything
With the transparent leaves of their senses

A red-spotted purple
Flies away with the sky

A paper wasp barely moves
The leaf on which it lands

A dead branch bursts
Into decaying life

Green frogs stretch
The gulp of their voices
Across the stream

Ferns brush themselves
Into the undergrowth

In nature the children
Of our shadows
Remember us as we were

Paint by Province

(Essex County)

By mixing the sunset
With green farms
And black walnut,
A white horse grazes in a field.

(Cape Breton)

By mingling lake water
With white birch
And yellow leaves,
The sail of the sun floats into view.

(PEI)

By combining lupins
With red soil and green fields
The island sleeps
In the waves of its dreams.

(Chocolate River, New Brunswick)

By amassing sediment
The sun pans for gold
Like an old prospector
Knee-deep in the river.

(Rural Ontario)

By bonding the smell of snow
With wood smoke,
November sets its essence
In your mind.

(Lake Louise, Alberta)

By joining elevation
To compression and water
Mountains wash their faces
In their own turquoise mirrors.

(Gaspe, Quebec)

By linking the St. Lawrence
To an endless watershed
Of blue iris in bloom
Beauty floods the seaway.

Marsh Boardwalk

Hovering above, between, amidst,
Like a boat attached to its own moving pier,
Space swamps you along the boardwalk.
The wind walks at the pace of the reeds.
Light falls on bulrushes and water lilies
Glowing in waters of inevitable wonder.
Every time you return, nature returns tenfold,
Enlarging you, lengthening your shadow,
Seeding your own expansion back to nature.
The marsh never changes, the marsh changes,
The upkeep of the boardwalk is enormous.
No worrying about time on this footpath.
It has all been preserved by the marsh.
It has all been dispersed by the reeds.

Photo by Brigitte Ala

Marsh Boardwalk

Climate Change Zoology & Cryptozoology

Climate Change Zoology

Dead elephants crumble like cubist mud.
Staghorn coral or antlers of a massive cull.
The last albatrosses rime like ancient mariners.
Tigers pace back and forth in cages of extinction.
Acoustic fossils croak, wetlands grow silent.
Mountain gorillas roar out our expiry
But we lack primal understanding.
Sea turtles bury eggs in books of quicksand.
Salmon suffocate in homeless waters.
Polar bears leap into the abyss like idiot men.
Whales breach from their blood with a groan.
Never have so many animals boarded
The ark of the sun with all their riches
Of honey and manna lost to the world.
Nature’s lease on capital is insolvent.

Cryptozoology

Our research points to terrifying conclusions,
Cryptids don’t exist, but we believe in them.
We spawn marine reptiles in our minds.
We descend like Andean wolves, into lower forests.
It might as well be that skunk-ape migrants
Of global warming indicate degrees in theology.
It might as well be that being is bizarre,
Monsters of the lector unsolved in the sermon.
It might as well be that Chupacabra
Are devil dogs stirring the furnace of souls.
Perhaps a pharmaceutical apocalypse
Creates the condition for a mutant menagerie.
All we can say beyond a reasonable doubt:
They are the varmint of the malcontent
Who have peopled else and are on the move.

Green Losses

How many are the green losses
How heavy are the losses
Ask the animals
And they will tell you
Ask the earth and it will teach you

Those sleeping in the earth
Who loved the earth
And were murdered protecting it
I wish for them the richest blackness
Of soul-seeding eternity
Starry nights of soil
Wetland awakenings

For those murdered
Protecting the earth
Wherever the black sunbird flies
I wish for them the revenge
Of regeneration and restoration

May the vines of the Amazon
Entwine them all about the neck
May the heavens uproot
The worldly children
And save a garden for the rest

Manifest

One gust bends the reeds, another rights them.
A pond levels the eye in the light of the mind.
Fed with honey and light, dusk is sounding,
Stones detach, trees branch into trees,
People in the park stand apart, part of every part;
Paths drift from the path; those lost remain so;
And it is beautiful to live in two worlds, twice two,
Feeling and saying, believing and denying,
Witnesses to simultaneous sunsets, to an earth
Concurrent to ourselves and each others’ other.

An Equal Return

We found a young snake on the road.
We found a young snake on the road.

It was November but felt like spring.
The month had shed its skin.

What shall we do with a serpent
When stars are the tail of the sun?

What shall we do with the earth
When we are beings of a dream?

We didn’t know where to find its den.
It swam from my hand like something Zen.

It’s a gift from the earth to catch a dream.
A gift to the earth to return the seed.

Pathetic Fallacy

The most noxious landfill is language.
Books are polluted; libraries, dump sites.
Due to toxic levels of pathetic fallacy
Bookstores recall infected books;
Greenpeace intervenes poetry readings;
Poets are fined for offshore word spills.
Why must a cloud be forever lonely?
Why must the sea be always cruel?
Books burn by their own hands.
Lexicon’s toxic waste contaminates
Our graves and poisons our shadows
From which we rise to stain the world.