Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Loon poems

Last summer I took part in Maine Audubon's Loon Productivity study, then (and again this spring) taking a two hour paddle every three or four days to hang out with the loons, see what they are up to, what is stressing them, to watch and listen, and also to hang out with geese, turtles, osprey, eagles, beaver, lichens and other friends around the lake.
My friend the painter/poet Stephen Petroff says that he is trying to paint the contents of his heart. In a poem 20 years ago I wrote that, like loons, we sometimes "dive under/dive under and/come up somewhere else." These little fragments come from paddling, and diving under, the contents of my heart.

wild roses down
to the water
one loon alone
northeast of the island

bright daylily line
high on a hill
across the lake
oak breeze shoreline
trees, osprey
on Loon Island, again
watching, watching
loon calls
off to the east

train whistle breeze
through trees and
beaver down no
loons around

water lily or
loon white
on the water both
flowers flowers
on the surface of
this world

loons take our love
into the lake
hello hello
which is the
real world water
in all this darkness
the loons calling
goodnight goodnight
i love you

every night now
i listen for loons
to hear their voices
to leave this body
to return to stars


at the bridge
there are loons, swimming
these are my friends now
i have moved
away from this water
every night now
the loons
everything solid

last night, in the moonlight
at least three loons
voices in the distance
beyond the edge of darkness

through the night
through trees, fields
moon light
voices through moonlight
loons over
water through
the night

to be in the company of
these trees, these grasses
these rocks, this water
these birds
hello hello we
finish each other's

siren on the highway
geese calling I'm
lashed to the mast

pollen covered lake
3 loons,together, these
holy places, behind the islands

rockground north of the island
loons in sundown light
voices, across the water
wind blowing smoke

floating Deep Cove silence
we all dissolve, in shimmering -
and I learn that light
is alive.

dragonflies, calm water, loons.
you tear a hole in the world,
take away the wind -
no words, there are
no words, just

two loons, before twilight
slipping away, into night

wet granite
mallard flies by
close to the surface

august becoming september
one loon calls
in the middle of the night

pollen line on lake edge
wild iris, turtles and loons
paddling into birdsong
first day of summer

gary lawless

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

naples and the cumaen sybil

the Cave of the Sybil, Cumae

The Cumaen sybil speaks
through the local journalist
"in Naples there is
no nature."
Above the sybil's cave,
where Daedalus came to ground,
a temple, sacred
to Apollo,
volcano on the horizon,
sunlight on the bay,
ash in the air and
birds, birdsong the
ghosts of old gods,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sardine Songs

reading to the alewives, Damariscotta Mills

Sardine Songs

(sardine factory, Belfast)

May we be blessed by
the spirits of these fish
swimming through our world
from the world above
from the world below
rising from the depths of the future
blessing the depths of our past


waited all night

in the dark they
gather in the cove
nets, in the water,
nets, in the morning
torn and
gone, all gone.

Were there ever any fish?
Was there ever any sunrise?
Did we dream water full of silver our
pockets full of gold?


falling into the soft
sea of darkness
slowly, slowly to bed
wrap me in a blanket of fish
shining in the water like stars
like light from a million years
below some vast ocean of sky
where there is nothing
nothing to hold on to -
flashes, and then


I am calling the stars in to me
come in through the head
come in through the chest
come in to my heart
stars fall, become
shining fish
in my body
darkness falls, becomes
cold in my body
I am cold water
becoming fish
from hot stars
becoming granite
calling the water to
come into my body

Stars have fallen into the water
stars have fallen into the rock
the sun enters the water
the moon enters the water
the stars enter the water
the light enters the water
fish shine like shards


sing a song of herring
all those sweet
sardines those
little fish those
flashes of light
in a dark world
bringing the world back
bringing the world back
to us

Gary Lawless