A Poem for Sirmilik

More than enough to pleasure
eyes or soul, take your pick.
Sirmilik does not disappoint
beyond the treeline and barrens
with its tundra and moonscapes,
the frosted mounts and few carpets of green
hugging hills you could never hope to mow.
Glaciers rolling out to basins of stone
or ice, chilblain-cold.

So which Sirmilik do you desire?
The hoodoos like motley pagan worshippers?
Hills that spill against one another?
The lake below that is cool snow-illusion?

Sirmilik, a state of raw wild being,
impossible to reduce to a clause or phrase.
Oystered boulders, snow-illumined peaks,
ranges forever spilling over,
gravelling downward everywhere you look
to multitudinous vistas.

Polar shelves and pale-layered strata.
Minute rivulets heading south or brooks
negotiating throngs of rocks.
Impossible to render except visually.
Inexplicable snowbergs without a Titanic
to waylay amid the blue or purple snow.
Striated coulees run dry
onto an interminable plain
with heaps of antlers now backlit by the sun,
just a weird dispatch from Sirmilik.

(Established in 2001, Sirmilik National Park is located in
Nunavut. Its name means “the place of glaciers.”)

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