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Saturday, January 01, 2022


by Alfredo Quarto

My sleep awoke in me last night a vision
that warrior clans returned to Puget Sound.
I dreamt that cedar canoes once more
plied upon steel waters
wooden vessels hewn by hand…
the head of deer carved upon each bow
bounding through the waves
propelled by the flat ends of many legged oars
ruminant hooves slapping against
            the wizened face of sea.
Something was reborn when the paddlers pulled again
their oars like tense wings fashioned
from the inner strength of the yew tree…
revival was at hand as a coastal people
once more walked upon the waters
each pull of oar one step in two directions
linking the severed past with future.
Deep within the red earth
remnant roots are recalled
as an old people revive
feel their pliant pulse range once more
along the arterials from the breasts of mountains
to the beat of the heart of the sea…
new life may grow from the same soil
            that buries us after all.
From the arching stern the captain
steers with eyes fixed towards home
his rhythmic song in the ancient tongue
sets our pace as old wisdom is rediscovered.
Near the shore a lone deer swims
holds its antlered mantle above cold water
behind him, steepled conifers climb green hills
rise to where sea gulls glide and scream
in great excitement, as if proclaiming
            the People have returned.

Alfredo Quarto is an environmental activist and poet living on an organic farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Washington.  He’s been published in numerous poetry publications including Poetry Seattle, Catalyst, Raindance Journal, Piedmont Review, Haiku Zashi Zo,  Paperbag Poems, Seattle Arts, Spindrift, Arts Focus, Arnazella, Dan River Anthology, Amelia, Americas Review, Vox, Middle House Review, The Closed Eye Open, Elevation Review, Montana Mouthful, Tidepools, and Wild Roof.