Archive for April 28th, 2009

SS Keenora

She’s landlocked now, dethroned

river queen, gussied up with paint

and varnish, brass aglow

part of prairie nautical museum.

From her bow, nothing to be seen

but treetops, waves of grass;

sturdy paddle wheeler

that once plied past our Red River home

where four ragamuffins, imagining

staterooms of titanic size, crystal chandeliers

waved to passengers who weathered

cramped cabins, wooden bunks

a salon in which you’d be

hard put to swing a ship’s cat.

She carried the staples of life: bolts

of cloth, threads of communication

to places like Sans Souci, Ponemah, Gimli

Manigotagan, Berens River, Norway House, buffeted

by curling whitecaps, beating

into jaws of inland sea.

from Pattern of Genes, published by Frontenac House
Copyright © 2001 by Rosalee van Stelten

Rosalee van Stelten’s latest book is Pavlov’s Elephant published by frontenachouse.com. “The Three Sisters,” a concert piece for wind band and narrator, inspired by her poem of the same name and composed by Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy, received its world premier at the 2009 Calgary International Band Festival.


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on hardy’s darkling thrush (haiku x 5)

thrush calls in darkness.

you have sent me hardy’s poem:

a glimmer of light.

night surrounds us now.

we start a fire between us-

new embers burn fast.

last winter’s snow melts

into hushing rivulets.

water sounds green, lush.

thrush awakens spring.

all other lovers will hear

our secret delight.

alighting this branch:

a bird, your eyes, my fingers.

we touch now, at last.

Alisa Gordaneer writes a poem a day, raises chickens and kids, and teaches writing in Victoria, BC.

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A True Thing

It is a true thing that-

as they stood on the government wharf saying their vows

he from Uruguay

and she from Toronto

with the marriage commissioner, Haida Gwaii,

he not fully comprehending the words he was saying

she giggling, nuzzling his bronze neck

he wearing a rose from Copper Beach B and B

where we were staying

she carrying a bouquet of mixed flowers

culled by one of the witnesses

from the gas station on Masset’s main drag

they wearing clean but not quite-dry underwear,

the only sweaters they had with them

his knitted by a peasant woman in Peru

hers by an aunt in Winnipeg

hiking boots he’d scrubbed with an old toothbrush

in the Agate Beach Campground out near Tow Hill

and silver rings

made by a woman who lives in Skidegate now

-a great blue heron rose

from under the sodden dock we stood on

and beat its way down Delkatla Inlet

over the incoming tide.

Anne Swannell is a painter and mosaicist, which  accounts for the visual quality of her poems. Anne¹s poetry has been published in Anglo-Welsh Review, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, Malahat Review, Prairie Fire, and various other periodicals.

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