The first summer oriole
Both color and choral.
The summer equinox
Redoubles the lake light.
A sun dog in the north
Melts the eye of ice.
Initial inches of rain
Produce more grain.
Foremost the waterways
Must have their say.
Primary to the present
The future having no forests.
Earlier to being right
Honesty has plain sight.
Latest to wake
A young garter snake.
A maiden dragonfly
Cuts close to eventide.
Pioneers to these places
New growth races.
The first river otters
Return to our waters.
In fifteen minutes of walking
I’ve discovered purple loosestrife,
Virginia creepers, hemp agrimony,
Blue vervain, horseweed, goldenrod,
Giant ragweed, Queen Anne’s lace,
Water hyssop, and clematis…
If I keep walking down this path
I’ll discover all the names of the earth.
As at the beginning of life
As at the end of death,
I’ll take root in the sun,
I’ll turn green and grow wild.
A plum plops
Into a rain barrel.
Night spills over its rim.
Reflected in a rain barrel
Like a woman with plums.
Even a plum ripples
Above a rain barrel
Amplifies fair weather.
Rings the bell
Of sleeping rains.
In a rain barrel
Like Emperor and sons.
One after another
The water clocks
Of summer rot.
The rain barrel
Rounds out nature.
Moss to the bilge
Sinks a barrel
Deep into summer.
Washing its face
The rain gazes
Into its own eyes.
From the spout
The green wine
Of the sun runs clear.
The youngest sassafras branches are green, like rose stems.
A broad-winged hawk lands on the hydro tower like one of the gods of voltage.
A cooper’s hawk and kestrel round out the day’s raptures.
Also came across a stand of young honey locust trees, like dancing partners dipping and swaying in the wind.
Along a path of reeds the whispers are like the voices of many lives in parallel universes.
Yesterday I found a dying mantis on the path, with a day moon in one eye.
Fall is falling today like an adagio only I can hear.
As though a Van Gogh of the wind had painted a brush dipped in sunflowers across the forest.
A female cardinal separates her shadow from her shade and turns up in neither.
When a cardinal and a blue jay cross the same path at the same instant, the discernment of truth cuts through the silence of beauty.
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
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
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
Round out the ripening
For orange jewelweed one flower
Is still a flowering plant
The youngest deer of the forest
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
By mixing the sunset
With green farms
And black walnut,
A white horse grazes in a field.
By mingling lake water
With white birch
And yellow leaves,
The sail of the sun floats into view.
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.
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.
By linking the St. Lawrence
To an endless watershed
Of blue iris in bloom
Beauty floods the seaway.
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
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.
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.