Jonathan Locke Hart

Translation text: "Paysages "

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.


                           The silent

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

Of January.



Father, mother and child sit midlake

In a row-boat, water calm. Sky clear,

Sun hot.


                  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

Never touching.

                  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

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.