Nicomekl Nightlife (NPM ’16-Day 26)

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My poetry buddy, Laurel, and I walk different sections of the same path—a gravel and asphalt trail that follows Nicomekl Creek. Her yesterday’s poem, “Nicomekl’s Regulars,” about the people that walk the path,  was pitch-perfect.

But the path—at least the section of it that my husband and I walk—has another  cast of characters with another life, a night life. Though we’ve never walked it at night, we’re left with lots of clues of nighttime activity.

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The jettisoned mattress – Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Nicomekl Nightlife

After dark the trail’s dog-walkers
spandex-joggers, stroller-mothers and duck-feeders
give way to Nicomekl nightlife.

Hoodie-clad gangs with aerosol cans,
attracted by fresh paint and the already-graffiti’d
bridge underbelly, leave their mark.

Lean, weathered man rattles cart
over gravel to sheltered spot, jettisons mattress,
unrolls sleeping bag, curls up for the night.

Metal-hungry scrounger drags TV prey
under the bridge to eviscerate.
Leaves skeleton and innards for dead.

Roving tribe of tent-dwellers appear—one night
on the stream-bank, the next almost hidden
in new-leafed shrubs, the next under spreading oak.

Night ladies leave a trail of boots, pink bags, frilly tops,
night men—jeans, ball caps, jackets, undershirts.
Somehow a shopping cart lands in the stream.

A plank on the wooden bridge greets morning
black-charred. Across the creek
a blanket-nest lies abandoned.

Restless night segues too soon
to birdsong-raucous day.
Path, exhausted, dozes under returning

and happily predictable dog-walkers,
spandex-joggers, stroller-mothers, and a greying pair
that stride along every morning between 8 and 9.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Houston Trail – Langley BC

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mossy branch arcs over water

“…branches arc…”

Houston Trail – Langley BC

Peacock ferns, prehistoric, lush
draw us into the dim, cedar-canopied wood.
Uprooted trunks sprawl, branches arc,
snapped limbs leap in frozen pirouettes.
Slim apparitions forever grope, reach, grasp
a menagerie of many-appendaged moon monsters
sculpted from dripping filigree
and moss macramé.

Victim of the spell
in Mother’s warning:
“If you frown like that
your face will stay that way,”
the forest’s pose is fixed.
But time has softened the arboreal grimace
muffled the keening of the wind
with hangings of verdant chenille,
knitted blankets, sweaters,
hats and gloves of lime angora
for the slumbering
arms, stumps and claws.

© 2004 – Violet Nesdoly

mossy branch

“…apparitions forever grope, reach, grasp…”

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I live near rainforest. Some of my favorite walks are through woods beside the Fraser River. I’ll never forget the first time I walked the Houston Trail—a loop walk through the most mossy woods I’ve ever seen. It looked like a forest minefield draped in green. The poem above is my memory of that walk.

On Sunday I walked another trail near that one and again moss was everywhere. I wrote the poem some years ago. I took the photos on Sunday.

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Greg at GottaBook