Poetry is a sort of divination. This is an old and respectable trope. One that plays in the background of “Wabakimi Lake” (in Breaker). Sue Sinclair invites the addressee to be both the subject and object of scrutiny. The twisting intestines of a setting sun provide intimations of mortality. This is a very beautiful conclusion with enticing enjambement and the signifier entrails buried deep within a line as the signified is located deep, deep down on the lake bottom. And there is the predatory note hinted at by the use of lair (indeed one is almost caught by the beauty).
The forces of mind and heart are everywhere visible
in the sublittoral stillness; you are looking far into the eye
of your intended end, feel the part of you that will return
to earth returning already. The dense lake bottom
draws you and the sun’s entrails down, down
into its tawny lair, far out of sight.
“Burn me, I’m a witch.” begins the riposte. We know that witches were often thrown into water: sinking (and drowning) denoting truth telling and innocence; floaters found death by fire (the doom of living by a different truth).
The witch asks “what of the parts that do not return to earth?” and more pointedly: “what parts do not return?” For soothe do we not all die whole — all of us perish? In which case, the poet in the exaltation of the moment might well bear in mind that the stillness is but an artefact of mind and heart. Nothing stops. Motion is everywhere and everywhen. Elsewhere I have commented on Sinclair’s suspicion of the “up” and the “out” intimating that it bespeaks a failure of ecstasy (and I am mightily suspicious of those that stop short of a full embrace of our material embodiment). If the forces of mind and heart are visible in the sublittoral stillness what manifests itself on the shore? I would venture to say that there is a “you” there kin to the addressee that sinks. Someone who is satisfied with a materialism that leaves no parts behind and who consumes fully the lie of its return. Ashes to ashes. All is immolated in transformation: there is no going back only more dispersal. Still it’s nice to hang out in the tawny lair for a while dazzled by the sun’s entrails. And there to remember our travels. “We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon” as Joni reminds us (and the class of ’69 Princeton inscribed on a monument in a little garden near the Princeton University Art Museum). Lapidary magic. A stone I am willing to cast and watch sink however deep the water.
And so for day 1031