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How to find Lake Nora

Michael Redhill
From:   Lake Nora Arms. Coach House Press, 1993


The earliest map in the Arms is dated 1899. The quilted landscape is dotted with huge spills: Muskoka, Joseph, Rousseau. Lake Nora is at B18, nestled in the word WOOD, the name of the county it lies in. All the names are taken from the early colonists of the forests: Medora. Monk. Humphrey. Wood. And the lakes are named for the fallen: Beaver, deer, pigeon, loon. Among the early settlers we find Reverend Bland at B12 in a small hut where he made his own syrups and went mad in 1911. And at G22, the Cartwright summer home. Cartwright, the true conquering spirit. He sat in his chilly front room winter after winter with only a single candle, and watched his face float in that harsh light reflected against the window, saw his eyes rise disembodied over the lake. Cartwright rubbed his hands to keep them warm, and to feel less anxious and alone. But he was fearful. He had found Lake Nora.


To find Lake Nora, think about the shore of Coochiching. Ride the thought through the Severn locks, past the sanatorium at C48, marked in block letters at the bottom of the map. Lake Nora
whistles through these places to her throne, dragging the graphed lines with her like a thrashing salmon breaking through the net. Lake Nora is ready for battle when she gets there, dispatching chiding red squirrels and magpies down the chimney.


To find Lake Nora go Sherpa. Stop looking. Read the signs. To find Lake Nora follow the signal in your teeth. To find Lake Nora, return all your library books, believe in nothing.




Michael Redhill's works copyright © to the author.


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