David Morton wrote this poem as a birthday present for the singer Sarah McLachlan. In 24 All-Star Readers on the Words That Rock Their Worlds, McLachlan says it speaks of her love and connection to her favorite place in the world, Tofino, British Columbia.

Music and Heaven

On this sandgrain day
When this great space is squeezed
Between burdening clouds and sandslick flats
Where wind scratches between mussels and ancient barnacles
Teething through rock, where crows and ravens peck and
Scavenge through shell and sand grit and salt for scraps of seaflesh;
She celebrates and spurns her driftwood wind-blown age
Eagles drift and dive.

Under and round her go
Silver halibut giants and surges of salmon slicing through the icy air
Gulls aloud over warring waves and currents of seaweed
Wracking their way away from rock
Points of crab legs scutter over carapaces and undulating ground
Scraping a crescendo of silence below, fury above.

Here she freely moves
From the unknown, starlight of a great
and fabulous God into a heaven of salal and cedar and blackberry
curling, thrusting from the rot of primeval treefall, and slanting rivers of rain
dripping branches and pine needle floor
Nurtured and coddled by sun that is young once and forever.

Here is the sea spume and fir scent she breathes.
Here is the crystal moon that startles and sharpens
Here is the force that awakens and colours
Here are her daughters on either side of her
Here is the water that washes her feet
Here is the sand in which her feet are planted.
Here is the sand in which her feet are planted.
—David Morton

—With gratitude to Dylan Thomas

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