by Gord Sellar

He dreamt cold fishes
from the other side.
limped shadows, hunched
echo-circles crossing cold
water, light of hidden fire.
songs drift outward, blood
congeals in dark pools,
Then he was told:

hungry moths
came to him and crawled
into his belly, and spoke,
sang, danced air;
these things lacked
words only. not one
thing came dressed in words,
except the ending:
Remember what you have heard,
Remember what you have seen,

they pulled the cords within
and tugged him down
away from sleep.
they murmured as he rose
as he unfurled his
chalky wings
charging him to keep the rhythms
they sang the music of all spirit-things
because everything forgotten

is souless. he
moves like whispers
into dark spaces.
the world is
endless from the ground’s surface,
where he flitters, cold.
seeing bulb-light, he stirs
and moves into the arc of vision.
flesh on searing curve, he
returns to the circling winds.

— Saskatoon, 1996


This poem is a Glosa; the original quatrain:

Then he was told:
Remember what you have seen,
because everything forgotten
returns to the circling winds.

is attributed, rather ambiguously, to “a Navajo chant” in a book I was once given.

February 10, 2012

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