Above Lake Superior (1922)
with apologies to Lawren Harris
The artist, I would suggest, had a notion
of the future, his rendering of clouds
and gaseous mountains,
volcanic ash on fallen trees, which is a kind of snow.
Regarding the clouds sailing to infinity,
where water and land blend into one—
there is nothing we can know
with total certainty
from a portrait of nature hung on the wall.
There could be light on the distant shore,
a painted tribe of visionaries.
There could, as well, be nothing at all—
a vacant lot swirling in vapours,
or a red spark that hardened into earth,
where a single seed
several billion years of age
scutters across a desert plain.
Let’s agree on this theory, of an alternate universe:
A village clock approaches midnight.
Vibrating at a frequency
well beyond the normal range,
human widgets stare at the sky, waiting for God.
(Excerpt from my new manuscript, The Eleventh Hour (2020). Thanks to the editors of Women & Environments International Magazine: Issue 100/101, where a version of this poem was first published.)