Richard Sanger

Letter to Nessie


from Lake Mazinaw to Loch Ness

(In summer 2009, my parents and I spent a night at Bon Echo Provincial Park in eastern Ontario.   Noticing that the park, once frequented by writers such as James Thurber and Merrill Denison, ran an annual poetry competition, my father, Clyde Sanger, and I undertook to enter poems that avoided the usual scenic pieties.  To my surprise, “Letter to Nessie” won the competition and was printed in the park’s 2010 guide)

My summer (since you ask) opened with a splash:
May 24th and the two-four of Blue

Two forty-somethings on a bender flubbed

In the hand-off from dock to canoe—

Glug-glug-glug… The benders got wet, and cursed

The whole long weekend long; I got the case,

The bottles tumbling out like bowling pins

Down the murky slopes to land (if that’s the word)

Smack in the middle of my summer hideaway

One hundred and fifty metres below

The waves of beautiful Lake Mazinaw.

Most lakes round here (and I don’t disparage

Any of them–we got oodles) go down

About as far as a parking garage.

Lake Maz I chose for depth, just what you need

To escape the racket these campers make.

When the sun’s up and they come out to play,

I retreat to my king-size water bed

To nap, or read—quite a library’s come my way:

Outboard manuals, Archie Double Digests,

New Yorkers, thrillers, guides to this and that…

Sometimes I invite over Lady Pike

Or the Muskies, although, lately, our chat

Keeps returning to the same dreary themes:

Outboards, water levels.. I’d rather leaf through

An old Canadian Tire catalogue

Or, better still, meet someone new.

Thing is, for a guy like me, deep and all,

This lake’s still a pond…  And this pond is small.

Which is why, dear Nessie, I’m writing you.

I’m no monster, I got feelings, thoughts, a heart,

A great collection of old coins and bottle caps,

And I appreciate the finer things:

Midnights when the moon coats the lake with dabs

Of silver, I like to go for swim

By the big rock and look at the art:

Those tricksters and thunderbirds remind me

I wasn’t always alone; I once had a mum,

A dad, a loving family.  Sometimes, then, I sing

And hear a voice answering me:  Oh Nessie!

Can it be you?  Say you’re coming.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes…

2 Responses to Letter to Nessie

  1. This is a great poem. Very well written.

  2. In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire is burst in to flame by an encounter with another human being.
    ~Albert Schweitzer
    Beautiful and moving poetry. Thank you !

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