Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fata Morgana

I thought I might post this separately, as Don Domanski's work deserves space all its own. Throughout our ride, especially across the North Road, I thought about the isolation of northern Quebec. And I thought about crashing. We were really all alone on the road. There were no phones, no traffic, no hospitals. This was the essence of the adventure. But it is a sense as bone-chilling as it is thrilling. It is, I think, best captured in Fata Morgana, a wonderful Domanski poem. I remember seeing him read it six years earlier in the Owens Art Gallery at Mount A. It is with me still:

You’re walking alone in the forest
The moon is directly overhead
Eating her supper of astronomy
And wedding-gifts

There’s a thousand miles of trees
In every direction
Which means there’s just
Enough blood to go around
So you musn’t spill a drop

Of course every second tree
Is the Tree of Death
Every third one
The Tree of Life
While all the others
Are doors to atonement
But you mustn’t knock

You’re like me
And want a straight line
Through everything
But there aren’t any here
No path from A to B
No A or B

You’re just lost
This is the earth
You’re not human
But a fox or a rabbit

Your life behind a desk
Was an illusion
The shining city a madness
Brought on by fatigue
There aren’t any cars or telephones
There never were
Not a single clothesline or shoelace
In all the world

Your heartbeats are so many
Peapods being cracked open
Your footprints swallow themselves
As you walk along

What I said about the moon was a lie
There were never any weddings
Or any gifts
Not an astronomer to be found

The moon is devouring you
Just you tonight
With your long ears pricked up
In their sad salute to fear

This hour is called Abandonment
This night Bottomless
I would call you Insignificant
If you weren’t already named Essential
If you weren’t the very centre of the world

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