Poems by D.S. Martin

The Pump at the End of the Lane

I remember the sound of the pump at the end of our cottage lane
braying like a donkey singing like an old man who knows only two notes
We would pump & pump until rewarded with the gush
we knew would come because it always did four kids
taking turns cupping hands while another worked the lever
filling our throats with icy pangs of pleasure
splashing each other & running from getting soaked
clothes clinging to our limbs flattening our hair
but drying quickly in the warm summer air
& then we’d pump some more the sound
rising with the level in each pail to the edge and over the brim
sometimes soaking into the soil sometimes puddling on the ground
but always obedient to its watery way
& then we’d return to the cottage carrying our sloshing loads
handles hurting hands precious liquid spilling over the rim
O to be like water in praise of him

Canticle

…music puts our being as men and women in touch
with that which transcends the sayable, which outstrips
the analyzable.

George Steiner, Real Presences

Explain the flight of the Great Blue Heron
not in terms of aerodynamics
but in relation to morning fog to rippling lake
Imagine a dove descending & a voice from heaven
proof only to those who need none

Think how a string quartet says so much
like waves on the Lake Manitou shore
matching the music of rooftop rain
in our waking minds like David’s harp
soothing Saul’s madness

Mythology weaves a song so beautiful
sailors forget themselves
forget to eat forget they’re vulnerable
on rocks Unimaginable
to those who’ve not felt it

Sing your jealousy to a nightingale
of her oblivion of weariness
fading into night
Sing your envy to a waterfowl
of her wise way on the pathless coast

Follow the flight of ravens to Kerith
where Elijah drinks from the brook
until it sinks in sand
like a half-remembered melody
fading in time

D.S. Martin is a Canadian poet whose work has appeared in many journals, including Arc, Canadian Literature, Christianity & Literature, Christian Century, Cresset, Mars Hill Review, Windhover, and Windsor Review. He has written about poetry for Rock & Sling, Image, Faith Today, and Books & Culture.