Since moving temporarily to Peterborough during COVID-19, I have been on an adventure with Nature in the Kawartha region, north of Toronto. The region contains a chain of lakes that form the upper watershed of the Trent River; the lakes are situated on the boundary between the Paleozoic limestone region of the Golden Horseshoe and the Precambrian granite Canadian Shield of northern and central Ontario.
I’ve explored several local parks and lakes with wonderful swamp cedar on the Otonabee River and Jackson Creek and uphill beech-maple forest in the Trent Nature Sanctuary.
Farther afield, I wandered through the pine forests of Petroglyph Park, north of Peterborough, with its intriguing meromictic McGinnis Lake.
When I shared some of my Petroglyph Park photos with Toronto poet and friend Bev Gorbet, she was inspired to write this poem. I am overjoyed to share her ekphrastic poem with you here:
To the Mystic Forest: Reflections on Natural Beauty
Forests of the mind, wild forests of the heart…
The ethereal sounds: windstorm and echo
On a spring day…
The wind’s fierce flight through bended bough,
Through swaying treetop
High high above, the windswept call, the cry,
All the beauty in a wilderness forest…
The whispering grasses, below,
Song all bend, all flow in a cathedral clearing…
Radiant beams, sunlight and shadow peppering
The moving boughs overhead…
Azure and lavender, sky-swept cloud
And mystic glow…
Oh! great forests of the mind,
Great forest of the heart…
A deepest beauty along an existential meridian:
The heart passionately centred, deeply into reflection:
Haunted days and alone
Wind call and cry, whisper and sigh
Great wilderness lands, wide forested plains
All the wondrous beauty, all the holy mystery:
Windswept, wind-tossed skies, the great forests
Mystery glorious, mystic days beyond time.
Bev Gorbet, June 2020
Bev Gorbet is a Toronto poet and retired school teacher. She has published several poems with the Retired Teachers Organization and most recently in “Literary Connection IV: Then and Now” (In Our Words Inc., 2019), edited by Cheryl Antao Xavier.
Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist / limnologist and novelist. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books. Nina’s bilingual “La natura dell’acqua / The Way of Water” was published by Mincione Edizioni in Rome. Her non-fiction book “Water Is…” by Pixl Press (Vancouver) was selected by Margaret Atwood in the New York Times ‘Year in Reading’ and was chosen as the 2017 Summer Read by Water Canada. Her novel “A Diary in the Age of Water” was released by Inanna Publications (Toronto) in June 2020.
3 thoughts on “To the Mystic Forest by Bev Gorbet–an Ekphrastic Poem”
The experience of being in a forest is difficult to explain, even after taking in deep breaths of pine-laden air. Bev Gorbet has expressed it beautifully, “Wind call and cry, whisper and sigh…”
She has indeed, Merridy! Thanks for the wonderful comment. Best, Nina
I’m just overwhelmed. That’s all.
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