[Poem] Two Sides of the Same Coin

You were a mute Hamlet, pacing

the bridge, your stage shaking

from the violence

of an ice jam beneath. You heard 

a man drowned

in the black river yesterday, taken

by the whim of a Spring

too eager to live. 

You held a quarter like Yorick’s skull, tossing

it to the question To be, or not to be

while the ice screamed

obscenities

as if to mock your acting. 

When the coin spun out and tumbled

out of reach, you didn’t move. 

You were numb, you watched

as if beheaded 

while a woman bent to retrieve 

your lost verdict. She must have seen

your silent monologue;

she must have known

the coin’s value was life and death. 

She rubbed the quarter’s edge, raised

an eyebrow, and offered

it back to you, saying,

“A coin has three sides, you know.” 

You felt like falling.

You felt you’d already died

and gone somewhere you’d never seen. 

Set free, for once, to choose

anything and everything,

something somehow between

the laughter and the tears.

Life Orbits a Hopeful Star

Willow and I are once again in Algonquin and something truly magical happened today. Back in June we had found a fox den with kits and got video and photos of two kits playing with mama. When we went back the next day, we were very upset to find those two kits had been both struck by a vehicle and killed. Willow always feels strongly moved to pull animal carcasses away from the road so other animals scavenging on them won’t also be hit by a car. It isn’t an easy thing for her to do, but she feels it is her duty.

Now in September, we went back to the den and found lots of signs of wildlife and a completely cleanly eaten/decayed animal which we determined from the skull size and fur colour was a baby fox. Maybe even the very one Willow moved off the road. One bone was particularly clean and white, so in honor of those sweet kits, Willow took the bone and plans to make a necklace with it, something in braided leather maybe.

It was just so right, somehow. It felt like a tremendous gift and lifted the sorrow of seeing those kits lifeless — for life is held aloft entirely by cycles. And to honor those kits with the bone is our gift too.

The Secret Life of Stones

She told me that stones lived,
crept, and even flew,
just slower than our imagined 
rate of time.

Years later I understood
how to love a river rock
like a bird, for time pulled
hard upon my beloved, until 
we were distant in the same room. 
Her breath became one unending 
syllable of a phrase I’d never hear
completed. 

“Ahhhhhhh,” she breathed,  
and if time ran fast enough for stones to fly,
she would say, “I love you.” 

I had faith enough to love
her and this life she now lived, 
a love undeserving of pity
from those who never knew
the secret life of stones. 

I came to move slower, too. 
“Ahhhhhhh,” I breathed gently,
my shoulder pressed upon hers,
too scared
to refrain from finishing the phrase, 
after a while:  
“I love you.” 

Then, last night some urban creature
dug up the fallow flower bed
outside our front window. 
When I drew aside the drapes
in acceptance of another day
behind us, I wondered
about the torn earth -- would time heal
this like a scraped knee?

I set the question free, turning away
from the living land.
The garden had only a minor wound,
and the stones of the walkway 
leading from the door
were full of thoughts and dreams 
as always.

My beloved was breathing, “Ahhhhhheeeeeeeeee....” 

I love you. 

The Spirit of Algonquin

At the end of April we went to Algonquin Park and enjoyed a beautiful time of wildlife viewing. It means a lot to me to connect with nature and animals, so when I saw a moose get spooked by a loud truck, I instinctively put out my arm and said, “It’s okay.” The moose had abruptly moved to bolt, but now stopped instead to gaze at me, and then went back to drinking from a little stream. It was an amazing feeling.

Here is a video compilation of the trip’s highlights, with music composed by me.

New Album: When the Ravenmaster Calls

I’ve just released my first album, When the Ravenmaster Calls, on Bandcamp! It’s free to download and contains nine of my favourite cinematic, instrumental rock songs that I’ve recently composed. Please consider following me on Bandcamp here:

https://bandcamp.com/band_follow_button_deluxe/3923374943