Poem for August: “Plunging Backwards into the Sea”

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Français : Île...

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Français : Île du Cap-Breton, Nouvelle-Écosse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This poem was originally published in The Dragonfly Review, which is, from what I can gather, now defunct. The poem  was inspired by many childhood Augusts of reveling at Whale Cove beach on Cape Breton Island.

Plunging Backwards Into the Sea

© Lisa E. Coté

I plunge backwards into the sea

like those divers
who don’t mind feeding sharks
or petting eels

and push against buoyancy and breath
to the shallow bottom,

just to watch, if briefly, the sun pierce
the mirror-tight skin of water,
illumine the lattice of currents and
armor of iridescent fish;

just to stay under one moment less
than too long,
tempting aquatic eternity,

then with swift upward kicks
rise and shatter the surface with a gasp,
trumpet air into my traitorous lungs,

and plunge again.

To My Dream Animals: “Totem”


Engraving of a kit fox by J. G. Keulemans, in the public domain (see here)

I dream of animals frequently, and I dream of a lot of different kinds of animals. Some animals repeat over several dreams, forming discernible series. Some come along rarely. The following is some verse I composed to honor some of these visitors.



© Lisa E. Coté

Those who dream of foxes know the way
Between the world of shadow and of light,
And do not linger when they should not stay
But run, sure-footed, deftly, out of sight.

Those who dream of bears are old indeed:
They know the price of fury and conceit,
But will rise up if there should come a need
To stand against injustice and defeat.

Those who dream of serpents feel no shame
But revel in the earth whereon they move
And bask in pleasures, free of guilt and blame:
Content in life, no impulse they reprove.

Those who dream of crows may swiftly fly
Beyond the dim illusions that are made
When death arrives to blot the earthly sky:
They navigate the darkness unafraid.