The Pond of Despond

The excavator hit an aquifer and the pit
overnight became a pond, inviting swimmers.
The gravel is sterile with no refuse evident.
The man who minds the place, being shy,
mumbles a caution that no-one claims to hear.
We change within a grove of sleek poplars.
One toe in the water and we feel a distinct tug,
as if the pond were in need of a great big hug.

Perhaps this is a sacred vortex,
a place where many worlds meet;
or maybe it’s a magnetic anomaly.

Floating on the surface we spy an oval mound
resting on the bottom, black and still as a boulder.
After a few dives, judging from its jaw, it looks
to be a huge pugnacious snapping turtle.
Seconded by its shadow, the amphibian semaphores
information with its four clawed appendages.
Where intuition plays a role no translation
is ever precise, but this is the message in rough:

Disturbed by surface commotion,
I enclose the eggs with my armour.
Come near and I will tear your legs off.

Reassured, turtle spoke of men scaling ziggurats
to scrape azure from the cloudless sky above.
Mistrusting nature they dug gloomy cisterns,
exchanged portable canvas for quarried stone,
set panes of glass between cosmos and home.
Treatises on combat they disguised as holy books.
They excluded from council women who wove
the braid of destiny as their service to humanity.

Clear water reflects only what is.
If you want to destroy the world,
make ripples by skipping stones.

The forest lances the sun and so the pond dims.
We who butcher eternity into identical hours
fumble for our watches in the heap of clothing.
Angled hands command that our bellies grumble.
The trespass sign faces the opposite direction.
Not as the turtle can we tarry to view stars
through the ancient lens of amniotic waters,
but we vow, weather permitting, to visit again.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County.

Read other articles by Douglas.