Three Poems by Clifford Bernier






Brackish Marsh

In the brackish marsh,
I am a dog in a duck’s eye,
more jester than jockey,
more joker than juror.
When beavers dance
I am a goat in a goose’s dream,
at water’s edge
I am a freak in a frog’s leap,
a madman in a muskrat’s march,
a monster in a mallard’s mind.
More clumsy than careful,
more cartoon than contender.


Chromatic the light on the breathing lake,
on the leaning bark, on the biting bird.

Chromatic the light on the leaning lake,
on the breathing bark, on the bouncing bird.

Chromatic the light on the laughing lake,
on the biting bark, on the barking bird.

Chromatic the light on the barking lake,
on the bouncing bark, on the laughing bird.

The Meaning

The meaning of the sun is the shape of the trees.

The meaning of the moon is the color of the night.

The meaning of the sea is the path on the shore.

The meaning of the land is the forest where I walk.

Clifford Bernier is the author of three poetry collections; he has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and his “The Silent Art” won the Gival Press Poetry Award. He appears on harmonica in the Accumulated Dust world music series and is featured on the EP Post-Columbian America. A member of the Washington Writers Collection, he has featured on NPR’s The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Image: Photograph by Eric Koppel. User:EKoppel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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