The world is going soft beneath my feet.

Not so long ago, the ground only

turned to muskeg once a year, at spring.

But lately spring becomes longer and longer—

a vast, insidious tide of blue quicksand.

Where once we were white with glacial glare,

now we are white with exhaustion.


How do we answer the hunger

in our little ones’ eyes? At least

they can forget occasionally—

spun in a cub’s delirious

tumbler—even mobbing mama

into the blissful game. O carefree days,

so long gone for me now.

Like a memory so ancient, you wonder


if it was a dream, a lie of imagination.

That blank tundra can be both trap

and escape. Oh, yes—imagination exists

vividly in this clan. We can imagine

a crisp, blue-white world of ice cliffs

and half-asleep gods in the water—a shuffling

somnambulist dance under sheet-pale sun.


When it is gone, we will imagine it alive,

because it is in our bones down to the marrow.

We have lived just such a wonderworld—swum it,

fished it, fought its storms beneath quilts

of glittery snow. But we are hunters,

not marathon swimmers. And I fear

as the horizon becomes liquid and

more and more distant, it will stretch

and snap what’s left of my heart.


©2011 Sean Arthur Joyce


About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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