Birch Forest by Water

Always the water, changing, changing,
blue, blue-green, blue-gray, blue,
sometimes lullabying the shore,
gently stroking; sometimes
domineering companion of the shore,
passionate, angry, lashing at the rocks.

Lake Michigan. Old, wise, seer of centuries.
The People called it michigami
when they camped here on its shores.
Now their ancient spirits
whisper in the morning mists.
Black robes and voyageurs paddling past
saw deer and raccoon come to drink.
From the decks of schooners sailors
gazed at white birches gleaming in the sun.

On the summer mornings early risers,
senses open, minds still, sit near this shore,
breathe the water-washed air, watch the gulls,
feel the wonder of the universe encircling them.

Poem originally appeared in Larsen’s collection of poetry Bjorklunden Sketches, published in 2000.