out of bounds

The lake pressed hard against its icy lid,

Half overcoming it in subtle pools,

Half thinning its white-knuckled groaning weight.

But the stifling, craven chill of chronic dormancy

Steadfastly clutches its perpetual stagnancy.


Springtime surged beyond the solitary lake:

A hundred geese burst loud upon the blue-streaked sky;

A dozen knots of winter-weary folk stepped high

Through streams that overran the black-paved trail,

And smiled to see the grace of Frisbee-catching dogs.


Someone, some time, had tied a net around the lake:

A safety net, I guess, to keep the daring out.

And yet the lake had since outgrown its nylon cage,

And now it strained to overthrow unnatural bounds,

To swell beyond the civil-sanctioned terminus.


And thus by ice and net concealed, and thus thereby

Deemed docile, tame, and healed of fractious tendencies,

The lonely lake inspired muse and orator,

Who praised its beauty and predictability

As evidence of righteous malleability.


They liked to sit on benches and observe the lake,

As long as safely in its man-made bounds it stayed.

Alas, each overrunning snowmelt streamlet flowed

Into its thawing, net-choked solitude. Ice cracked,

And  ‘neath bruised skies they fled as it began to rain.

Yesterday I went for a walk in the mock-springtime (over 60 degrees) weather. The above poem was inspired during that two-mile walk around the man-made lake in a small city park.


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