The Land Was A Loom ( revised 3rd dec. 2016 )
I sailed the fjords between Powell River and
Drury Inlet to beyond the Salish Sea.
The land itself spoke from mountains, water falls, islets
From bird song and bear splashing fishers
From rutting moose and cougars sharp incisors.
The place has a scale that needs no advisers
But in our bodies felt, sensed in our story talking.
The Chinese spoke of sensing place by the four dignities
Of Standing of Reposing of Sitting or of Walking.
Indigenous peoples of the passage added of Paddling by degrees
For the Haida and Salish sang their paddles to taboos
To the rhythm of the drum in their clan crested canoes.
Trunks transformed indwelling people who swam like trees.
First Nations marked this land, made drawings above sacred screes
As they walked together, to gather, share and thank the spirit saplings.
So Dao-pilgrims in the blue sacred mountains of Japan rang their ramblings.
Now the loggers’ chainsaws were silent like men who had sinned.
I motored now for of wind not a trace –
I could see stories from the slopes, hear tales in the wind.
Modern hieroglyphs spoke from clear-cuts both convex and concave.
Slopes of burgundy and orange bark shaves
Atop the beige hills, and in the gullies the silver drying snags
and the brilliant pink of fire weed tags
A tapestry of times in work.
A museum of lives that lurk.
Once the logging camps floated close to the head of inlets.
Now rusting red donkeys and cables no longer creak,
Nor do standing spar trees sway near feller notched trunks,
Nor do grappler yarders shriek as men bag booms and
Dump bundles in bull pens.
The names bespeak the work.
Bull buckers, rigging slingers, cat skinners, boom men and whistle punks.
Ashore to pee with my dog I saw a ball of crushed bones in scat
Later we heard the evocative howl of a wolf
And my pooch and I go along with the song
Conjoining with the animal call
In a natural world fearsome, sacred and shared.
Old bunk houses have tumbled, crumbling fish canneries no longer reek.
Vietnam Draft dodgers and Canucks that followed the loggers forever borrowed –
Their hoisting winches, engines, cutlery, fuel, grease and generators.
While white shells rattled down the ebbing sea.
Listing float homes still grumble when hauled on hard.
Somber silhouettes of teetering totems no longer whisper in westerlies
Near undulating kelp beds of Mamalilakula.
Petroglyphs talk in pictures veiled by vines.
History is a tapestry
And land is the loom.
Every rock, headland, and blissful fearsome bay
Has a silence that speaks when I hear it.
Has a roar of death from peaking storms when I see it.
Beings and things can be heard and seen that
Enter and pass through me to evaporate like mist
From a rain dropped forest fist
And are composted into soil.
Where mountains heavily wade into the sea
To resemble yes the tremble and dissemble
Of the continental shelf.
Where still waters of deception
Hide the tsunamis surging stealth.
Inside the veins of Mother Earth the magmas flow
Beneath fjords where crystalized glaziers glow.
Here sailed I, my dog and catboat
Of ‘Bill Garden’ build
The H. Daniel Hayes
In mountain water stilled
In a golden glory of my remaining days.
In Cascadia the images sang and thrilled
Mamalilikula, Kwak’wala, Namu, Klemtu
The Inlets Jervis, Toba, Bute, and Loughborough.