In comparison

Beaufort range, Vancouver Island, Canada

In my hometown,
on the west coast,
the mountains are big
and the people small –
in comparison.

There snow blinds
mountain peaks and hides
the missing trees, fills
the gashes where axes
hacked through the forest,
and left mountains
of wooden bodies raw
and critically wounded.
Poor saps.

There was a time
when I returned to
my west coast home
from my adopted home
in Newfoundland.
A rare two-coaster,
I felt neither here
nor there
in my hometown. Yet,
the people demanded
an explanation
– from me –
for the fur-flung murder
of east coast seals.

They wore bladed outrage
and climbed their dudgeon deftly
without a whiff of irony
even as they lopped the tops
of their own homegrown firs,
800 years in the making,
asserting the value of their plank
above those eastern butchers.

They rode the tips of their trees,
sawed through bloodless bark,
yipped as they toppled
the lives of fur hunters
who balanced on floes
on that other island
on that other ocean
they couldn’t see,
deafened by their absolute
superiority and the fact that
trees don’t scream.

In my hometown
the mountains are big
and the people taller –
in comparison –
now that the trees are gone.

 

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “In comparison

    • Don’t you wonder who is the hub of these blogging connections? I think I found people I follow through other bloggers but I bet there’s one person who’s the lynchpin.Probably a Google algorithm could figure that out.

      Like

  1. Very powerful Susanne, there is anger, frustration, and a raw kind of beauty – I love the echo of the first verse in the last. Alice Hoffman is one of my favourite authors though I haven’t read the Ice Queen yet.

    Like

      • Ooh quite a few – Practical Magic is one of my favourites (you may have seen the movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock), Turtle Moon, Here on Earth, Illumination Night – she’s written so many and there was a point when I thought she was re-writing a similar story – but they’re the kind of magical realism I love.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I didn’t see the move Practical Magic but now I want to read the book. Interesting comment about “rewriting a similar story”, Andrea. I find myself doing the same thing – same themes, different characters.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I know, it is the same at Lake Cowichan, shocking to see what is going on. Not to mention the destruction of forest for the ongoing housing construction for the masses who want to move here.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We were there in June and drove to Cowichan Bay to kayak. We also drove to the trestle bridge and hiked and along the way observed the expansion of housing everywhere. Crazy. Same thing north of Nanaimo.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It is not fun to see what is happening, there are also huge housing expansions planned for the Duncan area and on the northern part of Mt. Tzouhalem. We left the lower mainland 6 years ago because of the madness that area had become. Now it seems that Vancouver Island will be in the same condition in years to come. I hope I leave this earth before that happens.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. After reading The Contented Crafter’s comment, I realize how much I struggle with poetry and the implied metaphors it usually contains. I’m just too literal, I guess.

    However … omg, this is a powerful piece! There is just one exquisite sentence after another, and impossible to pick a favourite line, but ‘the fact trees don’t scream’ will stay with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I struggle with poetry, too, Joanne and yet I’m drawn to it. Sometimes I simply read a piece out loud and enjoy the words and don’t even think about the “meaning”. Sometimes the entry into a poem is just one line, like you found. There doesn’t have to be any more to it – but there could be – if you want to read deeper. Thanks so much for your comment. You should go look at Katherine Bickford’s site where she posts a lot of images from Vancouver Island. She’s a terrific photographer. http://carlykb.com/gateway/?p=12826

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s interesting how you said that the entry into a poem could be just one line. That’s how blog posts often work for me. It might just be a title and the rest follows. I like those posts – they tend to be easier to write, but can be surprising where they end up.

        hmmm – maybe I’m a writer after all 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re definitely a writer, Joanne. I’ve no doubt about that when I read your posts! The urge to write comes from so many places, don’t you find? I follow photo bloggers partly because images are powerful prompts when you least expect it. And other people’s blog posts can be equally inspiring. Or sitting staring out the window and running away with your thoughts. Whatever works in that moment, eh?

          Like

    • Thanks, Josh. I’m glad you liked it. I follow a photo blogger from my hometown and she posted the most glorious images of the Beaufort Mountains on Vancouver Island. While I was lost in memory, an old argument I had with friends popped up and away went my pen. Here’s the blogger’s site. Her photography is gorgeous: http://carlykb.com/gateway/?p=12826

      Like

  3. Oh how this hurts. I wish the blind would allow themselves to hurt a bit too instead of being so self-congratulatory in their ignorant and willful destruction of a planet that knows far better than we what it needs to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a preserved patch of old growth forest on Vancouver Island called “Cathedral Grove” where some of the Douglas Firs are 800 years old. When you walk beneath them and consider what energy and time it took for them to reach that size, and all that they support in their growth, you feel so small in every way. We are less than ants and not nearly as useful.

      Like

  4. This follows a conversation I was involved in today Susanne, about how and why we might choose not to see what is going on around us. Your poem hits hard and it feels too like it might encompass more than trees and seals – a metaphor perhaps for all our chosen blindnesses?

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are a perceptive reader, Pauline. Yes, blindness comes disguised in many ways, eh? Love, politics, hate. I just finished an incredible book called “the Ice Queen” by Alice Hoffman in which the main character is blinded almost her entire life by a single traumatic event from childhood. At one point she literally loses the ability to see red, blinded I suppose, to feel passion, love, friendship – anything that requires feeling. An astonishing book. Have you read anything by this author? She;s new to me but she’s written quite a few books.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.