David B. Hopes

Coole Lake

A thrush beats a snail against a stone.
Two black necks of cormorants cross like wands.
Cold light bounds on the far grassy fold,
a horse of light, frisking and untamed. Alone.
I’ve paid for solitude with cold.
Dawn wind. Cold stone. The cold water bronze
and sunburnt gold.

The lake’s face is pressed and pulled apart
by forces it’s too sunk within itself to know.
I thought purity of intent would let me go
homeward on the highroads of the heart.
I wonder who I thought I was.
The white swan’s shadow
does only what the white swan does.

Strange sound of lapping waters, not like a voice
but like many voices, like the dim address
of past time to the time to come, when choice
not yet made leaves nothing to undo,
when the coming glory is the coming prophet’s guess.
Nothing will matter all that much unless
I turn from the changeable morning new.

Strange sound of lapping waters, not a tongue
but the intermingling of mystic tongues,
natural and supernatural, dark and blest,
feared, loved, missed, too secret to be known.
Where I came to end is the beginning of the quest.
Where I sought exile is the ancient home.
The black swan glides under the white swan’s breast.