nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

the skater

with 4 comments


One winter day in the early 1970’s, I took a walk, alone, down to the shore of one of the chain of lakes extending from Dartmouth to Fall River in Nova Scotia.  Near the edge of the lake, I sat down on a log to watch the snow fall.  As I sat there, I had a memorable experience.  A lone skater, on racing blades, skated into the cove.  He had no idea I was there and skated with the abandon of solitude.  This event remains unique in my experience and will always be one of the loveliest happenings of my life. 

~

~

solitudes

~

  1.  

shortest hour

shortest day

hike to the lake

on the rail line

~

stunted stride

grey rails

grey sky

blue mittens

~

2.

the cove is a glimpse

between branches

birch and maple support the sky

expectant with snow

~

I wiggle to warm

a place on a log

to watch

snowflakes like mayflies

~

bark cracks

twigs snap

mittens, knees and elbows

tucked

 ~

3.

the cove is an oh!

of unspoilt ice, black

smooth, bound

by ice-skinned cobbles

~

last summer I turned one

found a salamander, red as berries, crushed

beneath the weight of air

skin panting in dapples of sun

~

today all colour is trapped

in the droop of high bush cranberries

fat sickles of ice

and the electric blue of mittens

~

the snow sifts down

I lift my mitt to catch a flake 

clings to the wool, white jigsaw

puzzles with atmospheres between

~

dark ice dwindles

~

4.

a cymbal rings on heavy air

not the crack of hardened bark

but the ring of steel, the scratch 

ice shaved by a metal edge

~

a lone man skates

round the curve of the shore

long-limbed as a spider he strides

on racing blades

stretches his arms

~

turns one toe and leans, a compass

marks a circle on the empty page

three quick strides and a figure

he touches a hand to ice

to steady the turn

~

alone, he dances

and I am nothing

a stump, bent vibernum

berries under snow

~

neither breath nor mittened hands

only eyes, watching

and in a while

closed 

~

5.

fines of snow

ease the heavy sky

the trees lean

the skater gone, the cove unwritten

~

white on the lake, the shore

the tree bark

the berries

even the mittens, white

~

~

© Jane Tims 2000

 

Written by jane tims

January 9, 2012 at 6:27 am

4 Responses

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  1. What a special memory!

    Like

    Barbara Rodgers

    January 10, 2012 at 11:00 am

    • Hi. I was amazed how well he did making figures on those long-bladed racing skates! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      January 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

  2. Wow, I love it! This has to be one of my favourites of yours, Jane! I can see that man skating now~

    Like

    Eve Redwater

    January 9, 2012 at 8:15 am

    • Hi Eve. Thanks! It shows how people can make a diiference in a life and never even know!

      Like

      jane tims

      January 12, 2012 at 10:51 am


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