The Lily Pond.
The Lily Pond
Has an elephant used our lily pond as a wallow? The pink
floating flowers, frog-patio pads and all,
are gone. The bulrush banks are trampled, the clear sky-mirror
with its shoals of flashing minnows is bilious
and muddy. Has someone been fishing with dynamite? The air
stinks of dredged sludge. Look, on the far shore,
behind the weeping willows, screened by hog sallow,
beavers have dug a canal linking the pond to the neighbouring
swamp. Brute engineers! Grey musky raw
muck plasters the banks of the new canal. Sunk
to the tops of my boots I stand stunned in the worksite.
How did we not know this was going on? Overnight
a truckload of sticks and clay has been dumped on the blue flags
under the sumacs and two ash trees are down, one
largely limbed to its trunk among fresh chips, the other
vanished except for its pointy tooth-chiselled stump. Some
just-in-time team-work gullet swallowed the forty-foot
tree whole and shat it into the now-brown water.
No beavers in sight. Probably sleeping under the slash
pile or shaking with laughter watching us through the cracks.
Then we turn and see a long line of them hunched and working
their fast front paws rolling up the forest and fields
like a carpet. Wasn't the swamp enough for them?
They're fed up with Canada. Honouring them on the nickel
was a waste. Look, a couple are up in a tree unhooking
a ... curtain? They're letting the whole blue cloud-painted backdrop
fall down in folds! Stop! Stop! We liked it that way!