A Tapestry of the North

Something is always
simmering on the black stove
and in the journal of time;
she wrote of
the shining northern purity
of a female icon—
love and sincerity
in the figurative,
stargazing in the field,
weeping at transgression:
the sorrow of her eyes,
the sweetness of her mouth—
Stretched on a loom,
the huge white cloth
of the North;
we were the threads,
short and long,
our ways
stretched across it.

North as a place
in the mind
where a safe house
with a much-needed

Blackcap and
red huckleberry,
nettle and fern,
cascara, buttercup,
burnished hazelnut,
and red rose hips.

Indian plum
in an open wood,
dandelion suns dotting
the wild grass,
and coltsfoot,
inhabiting the shaded ground
of the river bank.

The trailing blackberry
wound its way
along the neck
of the forest;
its purple-seeded harvest
a steeped nectar
over the fire.

A dreamer of the North,
of wind, of fire, and of water,
like a lodge overgrown
with moss,
behind the Northern
lights, beyond a wall of mist:
his footsteps
walking down,
his walking stick, aligned,
to see the bears cross the sky,
to see the ladle of the stars;
like night sounds,
slow across the
about to fall…
they give themselves
to his arrows.

The imagined mirror
of time and plenty
where the green waters
gave forth a harvest
to last the winter.

The driftwood
peopled the shore
and surf pounded
a breaking rhythm.

To walk the sands
of time,
both past and future:
to find the eternal song.

Legend carried us far,
an island tapered
by wild winds
and wildflowers.

in the pale light
over the tundra,
the tall grass in the meadow,
at the coming

thyme, rosemary,
and marjoram
brightened with
the flowers
of indigo petals and
yellow goldenrod;
a silent prayer
upon the altar
of peace.

Corn and beans,
squash and savory;
like mist over the plains,
Three Sisters Stew
a staple of the North,
and Indian stature
of wombs with eyes
to gaze into the
heart of earthly and
each child
a new planet
into the constellation
of sun, wind, and tears.

of the Arctic Inuit,
blooming round
the cabin door,
a stream to cloak the
Northern star,
nursed in a pine cone.

We are as flowering dogwood
and Nootka rose,
planets moving
through the night
lens of milky universe,
transient as the seasons pass
without appeasement,
at the mercy of the storm.

Yet now,
I have completed
a measurable act:
I have built a home
in the wilderness,
where the beams,
warm with the smoke
of a hearth-fire,
are hung with elk
and bear,
dried sorrel and madrona;
maize and beans
dot the soup
with gold stars
in the spring sky.

--Emily Isaacson

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