Classic content #1
At the Sleeping Bear Dunes
by Alan Howard
No skyborne seagull can beguile
A lofted thought from me, or call,
Like cherubs in some canvas oil,
My soul to disembodied joys.
No fishing in the sky for me.
Instead these acres I’ll embrace
Of glacial sand that ran, and runs,
One inch a year to drown, someday,
The lake beyond with crystals from
This hibernating age.
I like my progress slow.
Grind eons in my mortar, gods,
Drop anchors in these shifting ribs,
Where western winds whip traceless wisps,
Upon a formless, normal face.
The skin can change, the rest endure.
Just sleep me with the sleeping bear;
Sing eras to my ears.
Tonight I’ll hug the earth, and wake,
Gods willing, from an epoch’s dreams,
Here, high atop this airy beach,
Where gulls ignore a grounded man.
Alan Howard grew up in Traverse City, which is about 18 miles from the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Leelanau County (haunt of Jim Harrison) and he and his family often visited the huge sand pile to picnic, to climb laboriously to the top, and then run (slalom-fashion) down the face of the dune as fast as possible without falling on their kissers. "At the Sleeping Bear Dunes" appeared in Passages North, as well as Passages North Anthology: A Decade of Good Writing, published by Milkweed Editions (1993).