Monday, January 12, 2009

Passagassawaukeag/Belfast



Belfast Harbor Night View
Yvonne Jacquette


Passagassawaukeag

I.
I'm floating above the town,
above the bridges, above the bay
there are the lights
there is the darkness
water and sky
bridges and bay
everyone gone now
done away
upriver, downriver,
all the way home.

II.
just before sleep, I realize
there is a portal in the river -
between Maplewood and Penobscot,
near the sardine factory, maybe
below the old bridge, with
a constant movement of souls -
chicken, sardine, redfish,
mackerel, striper and
fellow humans -
a door below the
bay, the way
home -
the river is the portal
I dive into the water
looking for my father, dead
the ashes, spread

III.
Passagassawaukeag
where the languages go
a prayer for all of it
a prayer for the living
a prayer for the dead
Williamson translates the river name as
"place of ghosts or spirits, dead men walk"
the flitting lights
Fannie Eckstorm says "place where they fished
for sturgeon by torch light"
a river of ghosts, a river of light,
sturgeon the size of
a man, shoots into the air,
sturgeon and spirits all
shining, all returning, at
dusk, on a fresh tide -
in a dream they showed me,
below the river, below the town,
the entrance to a cave, a cave
full of pictures of my father,
my father, in his youth -
west into the cave away
from the water west
west where the light goes
west where the sun goes
where the dead men go, all souls, moving -
I am under water and
I can't tell night from morning.
when the light is gone
when all there is left is love -
when the body steals
even memories, even time -
my mother is losing her memory
not in the small ways of
where are my glasses
what was his name but
in the final way where
time, history, life and love
become lost and I
lose my own history.
who will tell me about the farms, the streets,
the houses, the people -
who will sing those quiet songs,
help me sleep?
pictures with no stories
faces with no names
is this my family?
history doesn't matter
memory doesn't matter
time doesn't matter
love doesn't matter
the weather changes
without you
history changes.
it's not easy.
it's just dying.
the river rises,
out of the dark,
going west, west
beyond familiar hills
into deeper water.


Gary Lawless

1 comment:

fatbottomgirl said...

"it's not easy
It's just dying."

wow.
that was a beautiful piece.
I'm going to keep reading, all the way back to the beginning of your blog.

such moving work.

kim
http://enlightenedhorsemanship.net