Robert Harms Paints the Surface of Little Fresh Pond

Surface the action of the day,

a means of tracing the dynamic,
so that a jitter of blue's
sparked by little coals, 

sun a glimmer 
of the day's intent. He knows
to trace an alphabet written on water 

is to surface the action of the day,

a way of proceeding,
entering into the never-
to-be repeated,
a way of reading
a nearly infinite variety of gestures 
legible only to one versed

in surface, the action of the day. 

When my eye nearly failed 
—the frail foil-back torn,
wild profusion of smoke-curls,

what I saw was just this: 
what he sees on and in water,
by his hand

the action of surface notated,

the rhythm of things 
discerned and ridden.

Copyright © 2010 by Mark Doty. Used with permission of the author.