Upon Reading North*
To say it’s unmagical is not to insult it.
It’s we who qualify and crave without definition.
Only assumptions based on context. Diction.
An entire first reading can be spent looking up meanings.
Magic’s absence then, is merely a possible state.
No stone ships here, nor glinting gravel
where men fell and froze and thawed again.
Only embers and beer cans and rebar lace.
This is Lake Ontario. On a clear day, they say,
you can see Rochester from here.
Though noisy with gulls, untidy with detritus,
this shore of sea, this coast of bay,
is rest. Under the paling stars of morning
lay your head on the sand. Point north.
The city is behind you now.
Here is Aurora. Early sun turns the inner eye red.
The cascade is waves, each following the last.
The evolution is of your education, your
experience, in which you are the expert.
Thus the world offers itself to your imagination.
Within struggle is wonder, that bulky emotion.
It leaves room for little else.
*after Seamus Heaney