The Lake by Geoff Cook

The Lake 



As if everything were on the surface or on edge:

there, where it gives itself up to the world,

with no idea what’s beyond it.


Sunrise is the lake’s ovation, an applause of light.

She’s all glitter: a sequined gown

beneath a mirrored ball.  A million wavelets

glint, glisten, glint, glisten, glint….

You, blind and aching in the brilliance. 


Only when the sun has burned away

the fog and clouds, leaving the heavens high

and far and empty, is the water blue.


On such thrown-open days —

big-topped in turquoise crystal —

the landscape’s shot on blue screen:

on the far side of the lake the shoreline

is a swath of trees buoyed in water-air;

two tiny islands are still, green clouds.

There’s no horizon in this floating world,

this green and blue impasto,

yet every line’s as bold

as figures in a child’s colouring book.


But even then the lake is dark as iron,

corrugated and unwieldy.


Like a highway closing in on a trucker’s stop

and dance bar in la belle province,

the lake appears to undulate at dusk.

An overcast and windless night,

but the great black blank of the lake

still rolls and swells, a gentle, heaving wash.

In such light, there’s no knowing her depths:

she’s all skin,

a dark gelatin;

a PVC-wrapped torso gyrating slowly;

an LCD screen someone’s stroking.


Geoffrey Cook, from rural Nova Scotia, currently lives in the Laurentians and teaches at John Abbott College in Montreal. His first book of poetry, Postscript (Vehicule Press: Signal Editions) was nominated for a national book award, the poems being widely anthologized in Canada. His work has most recently appeared in Fiddlehead #247 and the anthology, Approaches to Poetry: the pre-poem moment (Frog Hollow Press). Geoff’s translations of classic German poets have also been recently published: Heinrich Heine in The Antigonish Review #166 and Exile Quarterly Vol.35 #2; Rilke in the anthology The Exile Book of Poetry in Translation


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