Mark Mealing ≈ Four Poems




Today I sat on a favourite rock
& smoked a reflective pipe
There was a beetle atop his own sprig of grass
head down
perhaps admiring the greenness of the moss below
I thought of sharing
At the first puff
the beetle turned around
& at the second
he climbed till his head was high
& waved his antlers
at the third & fourth puffs
he waved them some more
at the fifth
fell headlong
onto his back & into the moss
waved his numerous legs feebly for a moment
then righted himself
& sat down to think it over
‘You’ve had enough’, I said,
‘& so perhaps have I.’
But Oh!
the rainbow at the head of Kootenay Lake!


Lake: Change & Leviathan

Thunder over the Mountain: Preponderance of the Small
I Ching # 62: Hsiao Kuo
…there is that Leviathan,
which you have made for the sport of it.
– Ps. 104/27b

After this strong morning wind
The Lake imagines itself a troubled ocean
White-horse combers gallop to the South
Waves shatter against the rocky shore
Ten thousand changing forms of foam arise
The dragon below drives the waves
…there is that Leviathan,
which you have made for the sport of it.
The biggest living thing of all
is made for pleasure
Such Creation!
Going to the Waterfall this day
I’m followed by four ravens in a line
Hear mumbled solemn croaks of greeting
They float by just above my head
Returning I see
Great clouds heap above Mt. Loki
Chen, Thunder above Ken, the Mountain
It’s good to stay small
6 in second place changes
Sun, the Gentle Wind, appears now
go humbly down, not up


Forest & Creek

The creek winds through the forest
the forest coils about the creek
both so wholly embraced
they clearly appear as one.
The forest lives on water
water lives in the forest
without water the forest is dead
the trees prone corpses
without the forest
the water runs wild
gouges out the land
smothers the fishes & creeping things with silt
I saw a ruined forest
trees used & unused all cast down
carried away or burned where they fell
the soil overturned, scorched & broken
the animals withdrawn into what still stands
birds simply gone
gone quite away
A man stands amid that waste
rubs his hands together & smiles
what he’s destroyed will gain him cash
over which to gloat & boast
& other maggots take their fees or taxes
none of which he wants to pay
I would enter this place
wind into its depth
embrace the water & the forest
so wholly that we would appear as one



I sit this night on a flat rock
just above the whickering waves of the lake
& gaze at the shimmering summer sky

One summer long ago
I worked half-way up the West Coast
my boss had urgent business in Ocean Falls
& there was freight to get in Bella Bella
& so
I caught a ride south at noon on the Mountie’s boat
We were only a short time at Bella Bella
I had ten minutes to look about the village
small cottages mostly
scattered more subtly than they seemed
to catch the light
before the nearest
two solemn gravestones with names & dates
& on one Raven carved in splendour
that’s how it was here
It was evening when we set out
the long summer evening of the north
if the thumping diesel engine ran slow
the boat went twice as far on half the fuel
& more than twice the time
fuel must be spared
for such urgent needs as might arise
& thus
& also because no one was in a rush
the boat went slow
the long summer evening of the north
twilight till almost midnight
but up Fitzhugh Sound
west of our course
tall forested islands cast their darkling shadow
Easy to see now
at the bow the curling wave
luminous with blue-green light
the stern wake roiling streams of cool flame
Tiny Noctiluca beasts
& whenever we ran through a school of Salmon
we scattered a standing wave of black torpedoes
blue-green fire framed in haloes
their headlong flight
a great wonder

& now & here
the Northern sky’s adorned
with streamers, curtains, gusts, long reaching beams
& sudden bursts of green-blue light
I am at the bottom of an aery sea
& wonder what is that great thing
that passing fans these living flames
in such patterns as in the summer sea
& other great things I cannot see
but know only by the light they call
from all that lives about them        9/9/11


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