Monday, November 11, 2013


Who, if not you,
ever made a ritual of cinders?

Who, if not you,
loved the lost, last hopeless fix?

Who, if not you,
will care for an absolute?

Who salvages a dead wreck's timber,
or refuses her own goodbye?

At night, in darkness, in the grief of flight
we travel, we keep watch, our bleak eyes unblinking, while

over that hill, our hopes are burning.
Who, if not you,

bites sleeping fire and ruined salt?
What is the value you give your dreams?

Who carries on,
detained by shadows, among trembling wings?

Who knows how long and far these faint hopes
will carry us?

Every night we lie in wait, our stony thoughts
clattering in the waves,

confused as to estates and territories,
the lost science of tears, those ship's ruins we love too much.

Italicized lines are taken from Neruda's "Sonata and Destruction" and rearranged. Photos are taken from the deck of Quoddy's Run in British Columbia, from behind Russell Island, and from Queen Charlotte Strait.

We continue, uncertain about what to do with our quite seriously damaged boat, which blew over at the Canoe Cove yard during a storm in late September. Part of the surveyor's report is in. It doesn't look good. While it would be wiser to cut and run perhaps, what would it mean to give up on our vessel, the dreams she provoked or the places she has taken us? This poem is for her--and for skipper extraordinaire, my co-insomniac, Marike Finlay.

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