Algonquin Bible - 1663

R. Nemo Hill

Jesu d’Algonquin

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We did it for You, brave traveler!
Faith in your lamp-lit, twilight arrival drove us on.
Left your vacant, pre-booked site to maintain the pre-written order
of this managed wilderness
and returned paddles to counter-currents, daring darker shores.
We bore canoes up an impossibly steep portage, cedar cross
piece burying itself into sun-lashed backs
as seven dips upward foretold of seven dips scrambling
down later, no reflection or meditation allowed in our too-present sweat
before dropping the bow in an undiscovered, still pond.

And days then seemed a well-turned eternity won of quieter impulse.
We washed our natural linens at ease,
midnight landings entertaining with velvet allure, hidden from a lazier wisdom.

Descending from Marie to St. Andrew, we floated in humble, thankful
homage to your inflexible lessons,
expectant of hanging colours or a busy frame to prove your passage.
No one believed. Not little—nothing!

We squinted hard in morning light that beat
pine like two thousand years of old growth,
finally swearing the coals had been shifted.