Jonathan Locke Hart
Artwork by Christian Jaramillo Vargas
The sea is calm
The sea is calm
While thoughts of winter
Stammer from this mind
In the summer wind.
Moment does the most
Violence, taking us beyond
The excuse of noise.
This is a land
This is a land stitched by distances
Where families scatter on the wind
A land rough as her
Here skin chaffs in the fingers
Father, mother and child sit midlake
In a row-boat, water calm. Sky clear,
The boat, a water-spider,
Slips slowly as the three
Talk over the tranquility.
Blue Sea Lake
All is there, mists old men rising from the lake,
Muttering loons who tuck their heads
To the untouched body of dream:
This silence the railway winds, two lines
The surface of the rails
Glows in the redness of the sun - the water
Is a dark glass, deep, long-carved by glaciers
And no wind.
A young boy walks with his dog,
Looks at the jointless rail bending
Around the bay to the copper rock cliff –
Shrill bird chorus breaks the still moment –
The boy sighs.
Just as he is becoming
Gravel and water, the wind and sunlight climbing,
The dog starts, and the boy stumbles on the tie
And cries at the bruise of wonder.
Blue Sea Lake II
I have lost all remembrance:
Jack-pine, chokecherry, birch,
The sun pounding the dirt road,
Lake water clean enough to drink,
The raft we dived from, clapboard
Boat-houses in a row, sunfish
Hooked and thrown back, storms
Whipping hail, beating the lake
Surface, the smell of grass
After the rain, children roasting
Marshmallows at night, the groan
Of motors, the bend of track,
Cottages built on water, dogs
Bounding after sticks, diving under
Water – nothing holding
The glasses of memory sharded,
The ears swelling with a touch
Of wind, tears
Running backwards, laughter returning
To the lungs.
No one promised me
The world, but I expected it
Jonathan Locke Hart teaches at the University of Alberta. His poetry books include Breath and Dust (2000), Dream China (2002), Dream Salvage (2003), Dreamworks (2009) and Musing (2011). These poems were originally published in Breath and Dust by Mattoid-Grange in 2000 and are reprinted with the permission of the author.