At Burt Lake

To disappear into the right words and to be their meanings . . .

October dusk.

Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky. The sycamore tree spills a few leaves. The cold focuses like a lens . . .

Now night falls, its hair caught in the lake's eye.

Such clarity of things. Already I've said too much . . .

Lord, language must happen to you the way this black pane of water, chipped and blistered with stars, happens to me.

Andrews is allowing nature to present itself in a context he can understand. He doesn't overburden the poem with comment or flowery words in an attempt to depict nature on the page. He easily could, because the lake holds many memories for him.

"Burt Lake is in northern Michigan," Andrews says, "about a half-hour drive from Mackinaw City. My wife's family has lived by the lake for many years. 'At Burt Lake' tries to embody the wonder that the particular landscape has always provoked in me. Central to such experiences, for me, is the strange sense of coming up against the limits of language to adequately communicate wonder and mystery." Andrews adds that he wanted those limits to be an explicit part of the poem. Thus, in part, "At Burt Lake" is a statement about nature poetry. "Perhaps, as one of the Upanishads [Hindu treatises] tells us, all we can say at such moments is 'Ah.' . . ."

0 0

Post a comment