Beachcombing

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Beachcombing

 

the net you cast

is never a trap:

 

it is the hammock

where I rest my

 

thoughts:  the welkin

and the forest-wild

 

that you weave

together for me:

 

your blue-

green threads:

 

the trim

on the shore

 

that I strive

toward

 

from Wavelengths of Your Song (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Paradise Evacuated

My print copy of Magma  (UK) arrived in the mail with my poem “Paradise Evacuated”. From the editorial: “Throughout the issue, we have scattered poems that made us think, feel or laugh and often all of those at once. They raise words which connect bone with breath and dance across the razed, airless spaces in which we are otherwise left inarticulate.”

 

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Missing

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the signs have

fallen and only

the frames

remain: they

contain within

their limits

the sea and sky

and an occasional

snail: missing is the

warning about

cliff edges

 

From Dust Blown Side of the Journey (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017)

 

 

 

 

Wings

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two strangers in the city forest

stand watching grey herons

three in a row in the cool shade

 

slowly the birds are forgotten

as one man swears refugees are lowering

his pension and the other says

 

softly he’s a human rights lawyer:

one man’s right wing and the other

left: two metal wings land

 

in a field of wildflowers

in eastern Ukraine and coal miners search

for fragments of

 

what was briefly

known as flight:

our human

 

remains. rebels

rush to hide

the evidence. why

 

do we shoot the flight

of our dreams from the sky?

a Bali guide book rests

 

beneath a sunflower.

no bird flies

with only one wing

 

 

from Dust Blown Side of the Journey forthcoming April 2017 (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

 

 

 

Human

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In 1938 Auden wrote:

“The primary function of poetry, as of all the arts, is to make us more aware of ourselves and the world around us.  I do not know if such increased awareness makes us more moral or more efficient:  I hope not.

I think it makes us more human, and I am quite certain it makes us more difficult to deceive, which is why, perhaps, all totalitarian theories of the State, from Plato’s downwards, have deeply mistrusted the arts.  They notice and say too much, and the neighbours start talking.”  — From The Later Auden by Edward Mendelson

Fourth World

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There are people everywhere who form a Fourth World, or a diaspora of their own.  They are the lordly ones!  They come in all colours.  They can be Christians or Hindus or Muslims or Jews or pagans or atheists.  They can be young or old, men or women, soldiers or pacifists, rich or poor.  They may be patriots, but they are never chauvinists.  They share with each other, across all the nations, common values of humour and understanding.  When you are among them you know you will not be mocked or resented, because they will not care about your race, your faith, your sex or your nationality, and they suffer fools if not gladly, at least sympathetically.  They laugh easily.  They are easily grateful.  They are never mean.  They are not inhibited by fashion, public opinion or political correctness.  They are exiles in their own communities, because they are always in a minority, but they form a mighty nation, if they only knew it.  It is the nation of nowhere.” — Jan Morris