In the Laurentians

1 Axiom
Afternoon in the early stages of decay:
Another room forming a temporary retreat
From the lake, the light still full, the disorientation
Complete—delusion collapsing under the weight
Of intangibility, shifting from dreams to days.

2 Continuity
The light burns dazzlingly clear,
Sleep a vanishing substitute
For memory, and awareness as calmed
As the lake before sunrise.
Filtering through the eyes
As a certitude of unsure dreams,
The light falls within the iris—
Waves that glisten in the wind
And touch reflected forests, a saturated
Indigo and green allowing perfections
In a substance of sheets of illusion:
Rising towards the light,
The eyelids enclose the dream,
Open the dream, are sure of daylight
And the yellow waters of sun.

3 Enigma
The fragmentation of enigmas
Yields perforated tissues of rising light
That fall into the eyes:
Indecipherable are stratified visions
Of a monochromatic night, calcification
Without reflection—negligent insularities
That deflate in a geology of inorganic time,
Hymnals stained with memories stale
In ellipses of remembrance and oblivion:
Through the clogged hours history
Backs up and drowns itself, the refracted
Residues drawn out by fervent partisans.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “In the Laurentians”?

Upon a time I frequently stayed with friends at Lac-des-seize-îles near Morin Heights. The original conception was half a dozen or so poems, which ultimately were compressed into a sequence of three. The composition dates are Lac-des-seize-îles, QC – Vancouver, BC, 30 August 1972 – 20 March 2003. The time contained some difficulties.

What poetic techniques did you use in “In the Laurentians”?

I eschew a consciously technical approach while drafting; but sometimes will apply it after the fact.

This poem “In the Laurentians” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 188 (Spring 2006): 103.

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