Maybe the Manitous

October 28, 2011


The Wilderness Within by Barbara Spring

It’s getting colder now on the Great Lakes. The water looks heavy, dense, and usually by Thanksgiving, the first ice begins to form on the shore. First one crystal grabs a grain of sand and then it begins and a stiff collar of ice forms along the shore on the eastern side of Lake Michigan. Maybe the Manitous is a poem from my book, The Wilderness Within.

Maybe the Manitous

Eastward rolling water
pellucid dense and slow
Karo syrup gloss or
flowing molten glass.
One crystal grabs
one grain of sand and
the beach blooms
with frost flowers—
a stiff white collar grows
all along the sandy shore.
Cold.
Icy winds blast.
Ice balls bob, wink, crash.
An eagle’s cry hangs
midair
above a white horizon line—
when sweetwater seas
freeze.
Late afternoon sun—
deep blue shadows on snow
manitous whisper to ice shelves
sibilant spirits speak —
murmur to structures below.
From Milwaukee to Muskegon
cold rollers flow, then splash through
ice volcanoes on the shore
troll caves and canon balls
shot from polar storms
or maybe the manitous.

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