Glossary of Hills
There should be a glossary of hills, if only to say golden afternoon
light on a butte weathered down to the clay is not old,
though these hills are old. There should be a sign for the breath
taken in the space between one hill and another, a notation
for a voice on a ridge. We need a name for one slope disappearing
into the mist of another and the faint green hyphen
joining ourselves to distance, to the deep memory
of how once we studied hollows for life,
knapped blades from a flint core, learned it all
and remembered it all as if our lives depended on it — and they did.
Then we would know how ancient we’ve become
watching the shallow brown river
that seems not to move, all the while cutting away the time we have left.
There would be no apostrophes in the Book of Hills, no possessive form.
To open the cover would be like looking into the mirror of our own faith:
the night of the soul and all those translations,
the voice at the end of the wind.
* * *
Bruce Rice is a poet living in Regina, Saskatchewan. He has published four books of poetry. His most recent collection, Life in the Canopy, was nominated for Saskatchewan Book of the Year in 2009.