Poetry: Aaron Schneider

Cape Breton Island

Laminaria, great waving ribbon,
amber sporophyte,
a virtue of holding fast,
sounding the round rocks
rolling, fathoms of algae.

Wave the rotten marble
cliffs goodbye,
falling root
and sulphide stench.

Sow bugs in the sag
framed house, swarm
under every log and lintel
we tore out, levelled,
held up to the pressing woods,
an anchor in the transience.

My children fish out
the long kelp,
subdue the beach
with glossy banners
as though they would always
conquer all.

All this dying of rock and wood,
all this rotting leads nowhere.
It’s always the same,
black flies reign, spruce conquer.
We hold the edge,
but yield the interior.

Aaron Schneider lives on an old farm near St Ann's Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. His book of poetry Wild Honey was published in 1998, and his work has been published widely in magazines, journals and anthologies. He is author of the books Deforestation and ‘Development’ in Canada and the Tropics and Selection Management of Private Woodlands in Nova Scotia, as well as numerous articles on the environment and development issues, art, photography and theatre.