Showing posts from March, 2020


Retreating Ice Count on it, every spring you will find the river again, rocks at the edge will re-emerge like loaves of bread salvaged from your freezer. Our genial host will press the river into taking off its hat and coat, just as the guileless stranger in the story is persuaded again to take off his hat and coat— Between the sun and the others, it’s clear who’ll win. If you look closely into the water, you’ll see the young fry swarm newly hatched from their jelly, and mudpuppies lurking by their broods. All manner of things will come near if you stay very still. The plaintive sound you hear vibrating through the valley and touching your core, if you let it, that’s the anguish of departure. I’ve been in retreat for a long time, shrinking back, leaving farmland, rivers, new creatures in new habitats— But you—how could you lose your place in the world when the world so persistently calls you? from Twenty Views of the Lachin


In honour of World Poetry Day in this unusual and uncertain time,  a poem for three voices Image: gilderm Susan Gillis LITTLE SONG OF DARKNESS   for three interpenetrating voices Just me and my aura on heaven’s roof                                                           Just me and my aura floating around              in a big white suit                         on heaven’s roof                                                                   Just me and my aura                                     clomping around in big white boots                floating around                            in a big white suit on heaven’s roof                   Everything here’s so strange and mute clomping                                clomping around                         floating                                              floating                                     I’m shrinking                in big white boots  


Writing in the time of COVID19: are you? It can be hard to open the more vulnerable spaces in times like these. What spills out can be hard to rest with. Or wrest with. Or is writing a balm? Are you sharing your work, or taking it into a quiet core? Are you reading/listening/reciting/singing/taking in others' art, or are you filtering out a lot of what shows up on your screens? I'm back and forth, back and forth, excited, exhausted. Figuring out how to land. Over on Sue Goyette's Facebook, people are following a series of writing prompts generously shared and gently guided by Sue. Maybe give it a try! At Concrete & River , I'm posting poems by people whose launches are cancelled. Have a look, buy a book! (All sales are through other vendors, not C&R) Most of all, be well, love strong. And vice versa.


VIEW WITH PORTRAIT OF FRIDA KAHLO November, the avenues bare. Wind like sheets of steel, shore willows hard against it. Equipment in the sky: cloud, sun, wind, a few birds hanging on. The river bucks like that last drink, the one you shouldn’t have had, the drone, pitch, clang, crash and slam of it. Pressure from above and below. Air and obstruction, constriction, gradient, flow. Walking or standing, it’s the same thing. Out there the waves are assembling the face of Frida Kahlo: her surging brow, the fathomless eyes, the dark fathoms around them, quick down-strokes either side of the nose, the sweet flourish that curls to the nostrils, those racing caverns, not to mention the dent above the flush of mouth, knife-edge of closed lips, the tiny cleft in her chin. The whole vast tropic bursting with white flowers. A line of froth slashes her brow. Go back to bed, the river says. The wind abates, but her features persist.