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…