Downriver (Dorwin Falls, Rawdon, Quebec)
by Brian Campbell

Here, downriver from roaring sheets of foam that pound and leap over spray-blasting rock curve, curl, sidewind round a bend the current levels, sinews, overlaps, spreading wide in deepening hush.

The boulders, sharp-hewn hefts like dice once tossed by a giant's hand have landed on this shore grown sprigs between — spruce, oak, fifteen metres tall.

(The I that settles and observes — oxygen alacrity released by falls — feels light on this lichened rock)

A stump, castle of crenellated bark, meadow of moss in its hollow top, spreads round, roots wrapping over roots, fused together. Ants travelling the esker highways.

Now an antenna, giant compound eye pulls its long breathing boat body over an ironwood escarpment … but one rear catapult that bends, unbends, viridian cantilever, pink hole in the armour where the other grasshopper leg must have been. Wings whirr, up it flies, lands in the meadow. Green shoots tremble. Rights itself. Crawls on the rampart wall.

Wounded survivor.

(This I only feels light, I can tell by that survivor, pain in its side so much my own)

Eddies swirl round polished rock.

Flies whirl infinities in the blinding hush

Brian Campbell is the author of Guatemala and Other Poems (Window Press, Toronto, 1994). His poetry has recently appeared in The Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, The Saranac Review, Nth Position and Dusie. He was also a finalist in the 2006 CBC Literary Award for Poetry. Undressing the Night, his translation of selected poems of the Nicaraguan-Canadian poet Francisco Santos, was recently published by Editorial Lunes, Costa Rica. He lives and teaches in Montreal. www.briancampbell.org