Lagoons, Hanlan’s Point


before the sun’s liquid

spilled gradually, flooding

the island’s cool cellar,

there was the boat

and the still lagoons,

the sound of my oars

the only intrusion

over cries of birds

in the marshy shallows,

loud crashing of the startled crane

rushing into air.


And in one strange,

dark, tree-hung entrance,

I followed the sound

of my heart all the way

to the reed-blocked ending,

with the pads of the lily,

thick as green-shining film,

covering the water.


And in another

where the sun filtered in

to probe the depths

through a lattice of branches,

I saw the skeletons

of brown ships rotting

far below in their unmarked

unknown burial ground,

wondering what strange fish

with what strange colours

swam through these palaces....


A small boy

in a flat-bottomed punt

and an old pair of oars,

moving with wonder

through the antechamber

of a slowly waking world.

Bibliographical info

Raymond Souster, “Lagoons, Hanlan’s Point” from Collected Poems of Raymond Souster, Volume 1, 19401955 (Oberon Press, 1980). Reprinted by permission of Oberon Press.

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