Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kay Smith "Again with Music"

Now that the rain is spent,
Trees and the purple-headed timothy and the tall grasses
Are all netted over with seed pearls.
Far as the eye can reach the sea is pale as a pearl,
The air a pool of stillness,
And so still the wild roses their petals make porcelain faces.

From leaf to leaf a raindrop slips,
Stillness upon stillness.

And sprawling over the living grass and the roses,
A dead apple tree with beauty in its bare bones,
Never to put forth again a pink and white cloud of witnesses,
Suddenly blossoms with yellow birds in its grey limbs,
And is almost alive again with music.

Love, O love, let the birds happen to me.
Let the wild, sweet voices remember me.

North side of King Street East, mid-way between Carmarthen and Wentworth
Posted for Dr. J with best wishes.

Sue Goyette "For the Unrejoiced"

Swallows nesting in the eaves of my mother's house
have given her more joy than a roomful of daughters.
She watches them fly into morning and at dusk

welcomes their return. Every day she feels this joy.
I want a day when it's that easy to find. A day when your hand
on my hip while I sleep is enough. The need-more-

milk-and-bread words we speak into the phone
drift from the wires between us and rain,
reminders of the unrejoiced, onto our skin,

the stems holding up the flowers and the net
of bones that make up our hands. A day,
if the birds don't return, we celebrate their flight.

Northwest corner of Princess and Carmarthen

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tammy Armstrong "Static"

My mother cannot talk on the telephone
during electrical storms;
she's terrified the living scars of night
might come through her finger-smudged receiver,
slice foolishly into her heart
while she gives me a no-fail recipe for chowder.
Tonight she phones.
I'm still moving out West, she says.
The line snaps and hisses.
Just make it through the winter,
we'll go to the beach in June.

My mother -- moving
from the Silurian fields of the East Coast
into the pink-eyed shiver of the West.
The sky rumbles between us,
I want to tell her that homesickness has a taste,
she should wait. I'm not finished.

South side of Mecklenburg, mid-way between Carmarthen and Sydney

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Richard Lemm "My Class Draws a Blank on Robbie Burns"

If we forget where we come from
we move half blind through what we are.
I ask my mother and uncle, born Alexanders:
What part of Scotland, what clan?
Uncle Curt laughs, "We're Americans."
Not that I want a tartan, or my ancestors'
motto, other than that I first learned,
gimme liberty or gimme death. And Levi's
are my heritage, Disney's Crockett, John Wayne,
but blue jeans came from sail cloths, Genoese,
a Swiss merchant who saw the need
and that new clan of levellers who'd wear
one colour from Tennessee to Oregon.
And here, among descendants of the Highland
Clearances, the Famine, the Expulsion,
the name on lips is Calvin
Klein, and who the hell's Robbie Burns.
I'm glad you're now able to marry
across those old religious lines,
and that your grandfather's ghost won't grip
and guide your hand in the voting booth.
There's too much that needs loving
to wear old hatreds like a gunman's mask.
Roy plugs his fiddle into Peavey amps
and the old lament escapes
Cromwell's sword, while the step dancers'
heads bow down. When I ask my class
the difference between two world wars:
one was black-and-white, one was in colour.
Yet that's more history than my potato-eating
forebears knew, travelling only as far as
their church to hear how God sent boatloads
of food to London as a test for His chosen.
We can have pizza or eggrolls day and night
and this is our glorious amnesia, entertained by
miniseries fragments of India and Rome.
The Shogun, Eva Peron, and Old Possum
dance with Anne Boleyn and out
to the Green Gables store for ice cream
for old Hugh MacAuley's wake. At my grave
I want one of you who can still play the pipes.

South side of Leinster Street, mid-way between Carmarthen and Sydney

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Elizabeth Brewster "Where I Come From"

People are made of places. They carry with them
hints of jungles or mountains, a tropic grace
or the cool eyes of sea gazers. Atmosphere of cities
how different drops from them, like the smell of smog
or the almost-not-smell of tulips in the spring,
nature tidily plotted with a guidebook;
or the smell of work, glue factories maybe,
chromium-plated offices; smell of subways
crowded at rush hours.

Where I come from, people
carry woods in their minds, acres of pine woods;
blueberry patches in the burned-out bush;
wooden farmhouses, old, in need of paint,
with yards where hens and chickens circle about,
clucking aimlessly; battered schoolhouses
behind which violets grow. Spring and winter
are the mind's chief seasons: ice and the breaking of ice.

A door in the mind blows open, and there blows
a frosty wind from fields of snow.

Southeast corner of Orange and Wentworth

Thursday, August 31, 2006

John Thompson "Ghazal XXXVII"

Now you have burned your books, you'll go with nothing.
A heart.

The world is full of the grandeur,
and it is.

Perfection of tables: crooked grains;
and all this talk: this folly of tongues.

Too many stories: yes, and
high talk: the exact curve of the thing.

Sweetness and lies: the hook, grey deadly bait,
a wind and water to kill cedar, idle men, the innocent

not love, and hard eyes
over the cold,

not love (eyes, hands, hands, arm)
given, taken, to the marrow;

(the grand joke: le mot juste:
forget it; remember):

Walking is all: readiness:
you are watching;

I'll learn by going:
Sleave-silk flies; the kindly ones.

East side of Sydney Street, mid-way between Orange and Duke

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sue Sinclair "Orpheus Meets Eurydice in the Underworld"

Still limping, she has come. She waits at the foot of the hill, doesn't dare go any further, remembers how it once vanished under her feet.

She has spent the time thinking about her wedding day, tracing the mark on her ankle where the serpent bit. It hasn't healed yet; perhaps it won't until he comes back. She has never desired his death, but wished for it as one wishes for rain.

The steep hill, where it led and couldn't lead. So many times.

When he arrives he looks more tired than she can understand. The lyre has vanished; they stand together silently.

Even as she remembers his face, she loses something else. She has been alone so long now; how often she has stood here, how much she has wanted to climb.

She takes him home, puts him to bed, then slips in beside him. His childhood bed, too short for him now; they will have to find another.

They waken slowly. As ghosts they pass through each other's bodies, she puts her hand into his heart. He has been worried she would forget.

They play in the fields, run races, drift through tall grasses carelessly, as only those who have had to wait forever can. They have a private sign language; no one speaks in this place, even the streams are silent.

Sometimes when they are walking she teases him, falls behind. He looks over his shoulder again and again: there she is. They never tire of this game.

Southwest Corner of Orange and Carmarthen