Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Poetry of Ellen Van Laar, The Algoma Rhymer

The Great Lakes Waterway

The Great Lakes are fed by a watershed basin.
Rivers collect run-off from two nations.
The U.S. and Canada share regulatory tools.
Together, they watch diversions and environmental rules.

From Lakes: Michigan, Superior, and Huron,
Saint Claire, Erie, Ontario, and Laurentien.
This continent was settled using water motion.
Boaters explored rivers on out to the Ocean.

Canoeing Natives, then the Voyageurs,
They traded furs for European beads and gear.
Roads and trains were not yet progressed.
So, water transport was key to economic success.

The Lakes became the international border.
The line is a shared resource, not wire or mortar.
The value of this is more than we can think.
Two countries are nourished by a common drink.

Water Cycles

The spring melt is filling low lying niches.
The thaw is seeping to puddles and ditches.
Rivers and lakes flow from the interior.
In watery veins, there's a heavenly mirror.
When the liquid is deep, our vision is deflected.
For light is held on a threshold, reflected.
Air and water often kiss and mingle,
Unified where they cannot remain single.
Evaporation rises, like birds gently winging.
Clouds absorb moisture, and later start wringing.
Rain then drips to the watershed, flowing.
Fluid gathers, whether coming or going.
How dependant we are on this water, sharing.
Within of our bodies, H2O we are carrying.
We drink and pee like the land and the sky.
Water keeps cycling, from the wet to the dry.

Canada from St. Mary's Bridge

As we wait on the bridge to be searched and grilled,
We smell the stench of St. Mary's Mill.
The plume of Essar Steel adds flavor,
As we gaze down on the log yard's neighbor.
Slag piles and dirt, with the Casino ahead,
The strip joint exploitation, bar and bed.
Uncut lawns, junk, and oily essence,
Drab, 100 year old, industrial presence.

We see this questionable side of the Sault,
As we wait in the line-up for customs due.
If this city is green and morally well,
Then appearance must be part of the sell.
I commend Essar's leadership in healing,
For city image effects business dealing.
The process of making our city inviting,
Will reap payment and pride, very reviving!

US Border Restrictions

The U.S. border has most folks confused.
They may steal your lunch! You may feel abused!
Plants need certificates, and soil is prohibited.
Root crops and fruits are often restricted.
If there is doubt about where a seed was grown--
They'll dispose them to the "can of the unknown".
Pet food from Canada is a definite "no".
Uncooked rice and unmarked citrus cannot go.
Food must be marked, or you're courting a snatch.
A crop out of season looks bad in your hatch.
Animal by-products from cows, sheep and goats-
are not allowed in your car, truck or boat.
Don't bring flowers, firewood, or garlic.
Keep all these rules in your glove compartment.
Or else, you could get a three hundred dollar fine--
If you are found ignorant on the border line.

The Wonders of Algoma
Waterfalls, Montreal River Dams, the Locks,
My favorite thing may be the varieties of rock.
There are islands and caves near my piece of shore.
Lake Superior dances 30 feet from my door.
Wolves, bear, cougar and moose,
I love the birds, sometimes a rare goose.
Highway 17 is an inspiration.
It has awesome sights and construction.
Canoeing and hiking, the edge of our coast:
Parks deserve credit, opportunity to boast.
Our history of logging, fishing, and mines,
People arrived on boats and train lines.
Native stories provide a mythological base.
A dragon mystery resides on Superior’s face.
The Group of Seven has loudly declared,
Algoma is rich with beauty, that’s rare.

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