A photo and poem to start the week.
(for George Whalley)
An hour after the storm on Birch Lake
the island bristles. Rock. Leaves still falling.
At this time, in the hour after lightning
we release the canoes.
Silence of water
purer than the silence of rock.
A paddle touches itself. We move
over the blind mercury, feel the muscle
within the river, the blade
weave in dark water.
Now each casual word is precisely chosen
passed from bow to stern, as if
leaning back to pass a canteen.
There are echoes, repercussions of water.
We are in absolute landscape,
Among names that fold in onto themselves.
To circle the island means witnessing
the blue grey dust of a heron
released out of the trees.
So the dialogue slides
nothing more than friendship
an old song we break into
not needing all the words.
We are past naming the country.
The reflections are never there
without us, without the exhaustion
of water and trees after storm.
from The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems by Michael Ondaatje. New York: Vintage International, 1997.
4 hours ago