Friday, April 24, 2009

bleaching in the light

strange plant skeleton, looking a bit like shriveled pasta... in the river valley, edmonton, april 19/09
butterfly in profile, river valley, edmonton, april 19/09

There are poems in gutters and drains, under the rails laid for trains, pages of novels on the pavements, in the supermarkets, stuck to people's feet or the wheels of their bikes or cars; there are poems in the desert. Somewhere where there are no houses, no people, only sky, wind, a wide-open world, a poem about a dormant grass-covered volcano lies held down half-buried in sand, bleaching in the light and heat like the small skull of a bird.

-- Ali Smith, in the story 'Text for the day', in Free Love

(This is just my favourite bit in that whole book. I love it for what it says about the omnipresence of poems. I love how she writes, such brevity, such potent imagery, such simple honest goodness truth.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

dazed spring approaches

white noon sun in the dry grasses, river valley, edmonton, april 10, 2009

tarkovsky-esque alleyway puddle reflection, belgravia, edmonton, april 10/09

(I believe I may have posted a fragment of this before a few years ago, but I feel compelled to post it again...)

Spring and All

by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the

waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen
patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

more waxwinging.

waxwing perusing pincherries in the tree across the alley, feb. 28/09


i know i said i almost
could not write about them,
these waxwings: flocks too vast
burst through a camera-lens, ever
reeling graspless beyond my gaze –

(but they’ve swished into
this one, dripped a rain of red hail
all over the sidewalks, old peels
plastering pavement, clotted blood
on all the new snow

this morning) & the trees are
ripe with them, slick wingtips
& sleek fuzz, clusters of birdfruit
buzzing songless, sreeeeeeeing
like distant water, ebbing cold –

watch them with me.
watch them seek sustenance,
beaks full of bitten-lip ashberries;
watch them swirl slow & giddy
& sure, two flights merging

like a galaxy’s spiralling tendrils, dark
sparks weaving an undulant orbit,
a tornadic dancing; watch them pull
us warm into the breast of the wind
& the clutch of their birdskins,

the telepathy of wingbeats like
mouth seeking mouth with
our eyes closed, & i feel whole
feathers of us tear & scatter,
unknowable & never named –

(pull me close & kiss me.)
the waxwings alight, fluttering
aureole crowning an ash-tree;
(i touch you & we cry out.) they
disembark now, keening

as we come together: watch
a corona shine golden
on our avian bellies, light
pulling us resonant upward
through the shaken trails of sky.