A Boat (by Margaret Atwood)
Evening comes on and the hills thicken;
red and yellow bleaching out of the leaves.
The chill pines grow their shadows.
Below them the water stills itself,
a sunset shivering in it.
One more going down to join the others.
Now the lake expands
and closes in, both.
The blackness that keeps itself
under the surface in daytime
emerges from it like mist
or as mist.
Distance vanishes, the absence
of distance pushes against the eyes.
There is no seeing the lake,
only the outlines of the hills
which are almost identical,
familiar to me as sleep,
shores unfolding upon shores
in their contours of slowed breathing.
It is touch I go by,
the boat like a hand feeling
through shoals and among
dead trees, over the boulders
lifting unseen, layer
on layer of drowned time falling away.
This is how I learned to steer
through darkness by no stars.
To be lost is only a failure of memory.
Patrise and I kayaked along the river this week, in the same kind of sunset, the same magical, basic, free place Atwood writes about.
I love her simplicity, and how she earns the last line, “to be lost is only a failure of memory.” What a pleasure, a message entirely for navigating the lake and the world, for the life we live in light and darkness.
I love poetry!
What poems are inspiring you!?