The lake at nightfall is less a lake, but more, with reflection added, so this giant inkblot lies on its side, a bristling zone of black pine and fir at the dark fold of the revealed world. Interpret this fallen symmetry, scan this water and these water lights, and follow a golden scribble toward the lantern, the guessed boat, the voices that skip across sky to where we stand. You are vanishing and so am I as everything surrenders color, falling silent to vision. Darkness rises to drown out the sky and silence names us to the asking boat. Who echoes who in the black mirror? Riddles are answers here at the edge. And still, we can imagine some clear call, a spoken brilliance blazing the trail . . . ourselves moving out across the sky.
Alfred Corn - 1943-
Once a day the rocks, with little warning— not much looked for even by the spruce and fir ever at attention above— fetch up on these tidal flats and bars. Large. crate-like rocks, wrapped in kelp; layer on imprinted layer, umber to claret to olivegreen of scalloped marbling. . . . Not far along the path of obstacles and stepping stones considered, fluid skeins of bladder wrack lie tufted over the mussel shoals— the seabed black as a shag's neck, a half-acre coalfield, but alive. Recklessly multiple, myriads compact, the small airtight coffers (in chipped enamel) are starred over with bonelike barnacles that crackle and simmer throughout the trek, gravel-crepitant underfoot. Evening comes now not with the Evening Star, but with a breathing fog. And fog is the element here, a new term, vast by indefinition, a vagrant damping of the deep tones of skies and bars and sea. Sand, mud, sand, rock; one jagged pool basining a water invisible except as quick trembles over algal weed—itself half-absent, a virid gel. Walking means to lose the way in fog, the eye drawn out to a farther point, a dark graph on the faint blue inlet watershine; out to where a heron stands, stationing its sharp silhouette against the fogbright dusk. Then, not to be approached, lifts off and rows upward, up, up, a flexible embracing-forward on the air, rising out of view behind an opaque expanse of calcium flame. The great kelp-dripping rocks, at random positions, lost in thought and dematerializing with the gray hour, release, indelibly, their pent-up contents. —Even the scattered feathers here are petrified, limewhite blades and stony down. The sky, from eastward, deepens with the dawning insight as the seas begin to rise, the flats slide away, the hulls bear off the ground, and the eye alien to so self-sufficing a tidal system turns and takes up how to retrace the steps that brought it there.