Friday, February 10, 2006

Bonus poetry

Someone apparently said a Canadian knows how to make love in a canoe. That is one of those things people say. But consider: birchbark is pliant but rough; canvas and cedar ridged like a rack; Grumman aluminum searing; Kevlar abrasive; ABS like a half-filled waterbed yielding in all the wrong places. And what about thwarts; what about the inverse ratio between passionate vigour and the chance of not tipping; what about bugs, loons with X-ray eyes? A Canadian is someone, the victim of generalizations, who knows enough about canoes to make love on the shore.

-- John Moss

excerpt from Meta Incognita (found in Field Notes of a Canadian in Ireland)

This was partially inspired by this post.

Poetry blogging


I pass a bunch of musicians in the street.
It's about 12:30, rehearsal just over, they're
standing around outside the side door of the church.
A good rehearsal; and it's April. They're laughing,
horsing around, talking about shoes, or taxes, where
to go for lunch, anything
except what their heads are full of.
It's a kind of helplessness, you can see
they're still breathing almost in unison, like people
the searchlight has passed over
and spared, their attention
lifts, swerves, settles; even
the gravel dust stuttering at their feet
is coherent.

--Jan Zwicky

Friday, February 03, 2006

And now for something completely different

A poem from one of my favorite contemporary authors, Jan Zwicky (a Canadian!). This is from her book Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, which I cannot too highly recommend.

Open Strings

E, laser of the ear, ear’s
vinegar, bagpipes
in a tux, the sky’s blue, pointed;

A, youngest of the four, cocksure
and vulnerable, the white kid
on the basketball team—immature,
ambitious, charming,
indispensable; apprenticed
to desire;

D is the tailor
who sewed the note “I shall always love you”
into the hem of the village belle’s wedding dress,
a note not discovered until ten years later in New York
where, poor and abandoned, she was ripping up the skirt
for curtains, and he came,
and he married her;

G, cathedral of the breastbone,
oak-light, earth;

it’s air they offer us,
but not the cool draught of their half-brothers
the harmonics, no,
a bigger wind, the body
snapped out like a towel, air
like the sky above the foothills,
like the desire to drown,
a place of worship,
a laying down of arms.
Open strings
are ambassadors from the republic of silence.
They are the name of that moment when you realize
clearly, for the first time,
you will die. After illness,
the first startled breath.

-- Jan Zwicky