Geese

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Geese

The arrowhead precedes its shaft and leads its feathers into night’s perfection. Summer catches flight and waves good-bye to Arcturus as an obsidian knife flashes black lightning across the icy threshold of a morbid sky. Darkness, swift and sudden, blots out each scattered scat of golden grain and swallows an iris of stars. Inverted, the Big Dipper hangs its question mark from the sky’s dark eyelid.

When daylight breaks cold sunshine over broken ground, the great white geese lay their burdens down by the riverside. Pristine as they drift to the land, flake by fluttering flake, they accumulate the colors of mud daub and anonymity as they grub food from the neat ploughed fields that march their earthen armies across the land. Fallen angels, they sprawl down from heaven and abandon eternity to adopt their waddling time-and-earthbound shapes.

Now, the afternoon gropes steadily to night. Some people have built fires; others read by candlelight. Geese litter the riverbanks with their mud-stained snowdrifts. Freshet mud besmirches them — or is it the black of midnight’s swift advance? The geese step on thin ice at civilization’s edge. Around them, the universe’s clock ticks slowly down. Who forced that scream through the needle’s eye? Night gathers its darkening robes and the seabed reaches its watery arms out towards a magnified moon.

Ghosts of departed constellations drown in the river. Pale planets scythed by moonlight bob phosphorescent on the flood. I walk on the beach sensing the flesh that bonds, the bones that scarcely bind, the shoulders and waist on which I hang my clothes. Now I stand nameless in a shimmer of moonlight and listen at the water’s edge to the whispering night. I catch the mutterings of snowflakes strung between the stars.

My dream stretches out a long, thin hand and clasps bright treasures in its tight-clenched fist. The moon hones its cutting edge into an ice-thin blade and the lone dove of my heart flaps in its trap of barren bone. Moonlight and starlight run their twin liquors, raw, within me. What will I bury beneath this year’s fallen leaves?

This Fragile Light

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This fragile light
filtering through
the early-morning mind
filled as it still is
with night’s dark
shadowy dreams
their dance demonic
or perchance angelic
as light rises and falls
in time to the chest’s
frail tidal change
the ins and outs
of life-giving breath

Bright motes these birds
at the morning feeder
feathered friends
who visit daily
known by their song
their plumage
their ups and downs
as they dazzle and spark
breaking the day open
with their chorus of joy

Four Geese

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 020

Four Geese

Early this morning,
high above the car
in the sky’s giant highway,
four geese flew overhead
honking.

 A welcome sign of spring,
they reminded me of summer sunshine
as they framed themselves
for a moment in the moon roof.

“Remember those happy days,”
they seemed to cry
as they carved their sky path
far above my head.

 I remembered a moonless night
with the admiral out ahead
steering by the stars
and, seemingly sightless,
the great flock following.

That night
I pinpointed their calls
leaning back, looking up,
straining my neck,
and for a moment
there were no stars,
just a feathered blackness
shutting out the Big Dipper
as it hung in the sky
above the river St. John.

 At Montmagny,
on the St. Lawrence River,
the great white geese
will soon be gathering.

White on their arrival
they will drift like snow
and accumulate on the land.

 Alban angels,
harbingers of spring,
guardians of summer’s perfection.,
they too will blotting out the sky
and leaving me breathless,
overwhelmed
by my many memories.

 

 

Not On My Watch!

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Not On My Watch!

The black-and-white cat
sits in the window and watches
the ginger cat who lounges on the porch
and watches the five deer
who stand in the woods at the garden’s foot
and watch the neighbor’s little dog
who watches the raccoon
who disdainfully removes the garbage can lid
and fishes out the food, scattering
paper and wrappers and cans
as four crows sit in the tree and watch
the wind as it whistles the papers
round and round in a windmill
that wraps itself round the feet
of another neighbor who is watching
the raccoon with open-eyes
as a seagull flies above him
and bombs him from above,
damn seagulls, and the bird poop
falls right on my neighbor’s watch face
and he cries out
“Oh no, not on my watch!”

Vixen

 

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Vixen

Meductic,
New Brunswick.

She climbs up from the head pond
a ripple of red and orange over the highway.

 As quick as a fox, they say:
black socks, brush winter-thick
held high and proud,
as quick as a shadow
melting into dark woods
on the highway’s far side.

She is followed by her cub
who is not quite as quick.
He is struck by a truck
and ground into the gravel.

 The fox-stink of memory
clings to my nostrils
like slow-motion death
dreamed at night
frame by bitter frame
.

 Now a night-time of silence
falls from the lips of fading lovers.

Raccoon

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Raccoon

Two footprints on the dew damp chair
show that he has been here.

We know he visits at night.
The cat wakes up, jumps off the bed,
leaps to the window, and hisses.
Then she falls silent.

The raccoon steals food from the feeder
and shuffles the pottery shards
we leave out to gather water for the birds.

We never see him.
Sometimes we hear him grunt;
occasionally the wind chimes rattle furiously
as if caught by a giant gust..

We peer into the dark,
turn on the outside lights,
but his absence greets us
like a long lost friend.

Last night, nothing:
this morning, an empty feeder,
those footmark in the dew on the chair:
we know he was there.

Full Moon Fading

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Full Moon Fading

Full Moon fading outside my window
still draws up water, attracts high tides,
drags the wolves by their drawstrings
struggling, bedraggled, out of my chest.
Soon to be invisible, they clutch and claw
as they climb the moon path’s golden light.

The piper has paid his rent and packed
up his pipes, leaving me at last alone.
A silence rules my lungs. Five deer stand
silent in the woods beneath my window
and I watch them as they watch the piper go.

My body’s house lies drained and empty.
The Fading Moon flushed out my body,
leaving it high and dry like a great white whale
abandoned, breathless, on a summer shore.

It’s all over now, the cough, the splutter,
the sharp reality, the aches and pains
that told me I was alive. I miss my music.
I miss the swish and roar of my incoming,
outgoing breath. I miss those Full Moon
fingers tinkling the tides of my inner being,
making me strive to keep myself alive.