The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (9)

December 21, 1971 Day Shift


Sap down, morning dark
Rooster sleeps, infant coughs, wife groans
Stove cold, pipes froze, truck stuck
Uncoffied and late to work.

Screen Tender empties sewer samples
“Goundwood down for cleanup
Pollution controls suspended
Today we flush the system out.”

Thousands of gallons of woodpulp and bleach
Zinc hydrosufite, sodium sulfate
Slosh through the flume into the saltchuck
Pablum for fish, heavily spiced.

In the Towncrier photo the Forestry Superintendant
Stands proud on the butt of a thousand year old fir
They’ve finished logging the old growth grove at Goat Lake.
It was one of the last virgin stands near the coast of B.C.

Cruised, felled, limbed, bucked
Skidded, yarded, loaded, trucked
Dumped, boomed, sorted, tugged
Towed, spiked, barked, lugged.
Ripped, slashed, cross-cut.

Pulped, shredded, screened
Bleached, tested, cleaned
Blended, thickened, died
Rolled, pressed, dried
Wound, rewound, finished.

The Times is all that’s left
For breakfast.

When darkness holds dominion here tonight
We’ll find and cut a sapling hemlock tree
To celebrate renewal of the light
And hope for rebirth of the land and sea.

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