Anthologies (multiple Authors)

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Bards in the Saddle

Bards in the Saddle

by Alberta Cowboy Poetry Society
tagged : canadian, anthologies (multiple authors)
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Because You Loved Being a Stranger

Because You Loved Being a Stranger

by Susan Musgrave
tagged : anthologies (multiple authors), canadian
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Beyond Forgetting

Beyond Forgetting

Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purdy
edited by Howard White & Emma Skagen, foreword by Steven Heighton
tagged : canadian, anthologies (multiple authors)
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Breaking the Surface

by Marilyn Bowering, edited by Susan Musgrave
tagged : anthologies (multiple authors)
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Breathing Fire

Breathing Fire

Canada's New Poets
edited by Patrick Lane & Lorna Crozier, foreword by Al Purdy
tagged : anthologies (multiple authors), canadian
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by Michael Crummey

The day my grandfather died he ate
a meal of salt beef and cabbage in his
sick bed, his appetite returning for
the first time in weeks, the skin
hanging from the bones of his face like an oversized suit.

My father had gone in to see him
earlier that morning, fifteen years old then
and thinking the old man was recovering;
they spoke for a few minutes about the cold
and about going out in the spring,
and then my grandfather asked his son for a cigarette.

Summers, after the caplin had rolled,
the cod moved into water too deep for traps
and the two of them would spend the days jigging,
standing at the gunnel with a line down
two fathoms, repeating the rhythmic full-arm jig
as if they were unsuccessfully trying to
start an engine;

mid-afternoon they'd stop to eat,
stoking the galley's firebox to stew cod's heads
and boil tea, then my grandfather would sit aft
with a pipe, pulling his yellow oilskin jacket
over his head until he was finished.
He'd known for years that my father was smoking
on the sly though he'd never acknowledged it,
hid beneath a coat to give his son
a chance to sneak a cigarette
before they got back to work.

The air in the sick room was so cold
their breath hung in clouds between them.
My grandfather was about to die of cancer or TB
and his son sat beside the bed,
his pockets for once empty of Bugle or Target tobacco,
telling his father he had no cigarette to give him
which happened to be the truth, and felt like
a lie to them both.

by Tim Bowling

Always I think of the last sockeye,
the one in late October; blind,
blood-red, half-rotted, so far from the creeks of spawning,
it just lay beside our net
in the silt-grey water -- confused
or resting, we couldn't say --
then with one weak push
gilled itself
so we had to roll it in.

The last of its kind for the season;
most had died, or spawned and died,
at least a month before;
I could not gaff it.
We stood in the chill north wind, bemused,
as though we'd been given an early Christmas gift,
red-wrapped and taken
from below the mountains' undecorated evergreens;
we stared at the rotted eyes
and scales like bloodied coin,
a glove of chain-mail
after a Crusades slaughter
the living hand still inside.

Three separate instincts
and a whole long winter to forget
your drinking and failed marriage
my loneliness and too often
days of great despair
over things I cannot change

and always the gap between us
as wide as the gap
between the sockeye and its goal;
three separate instincts
with nothing to win
three separate species:
I don't remember what we said
or even if we spoke at all
but the salmon, at least,
knew what it wanted,
so I gave it back to the river,
blind, rotted, and doomed,
I gave it back

while we stood in the stern like the last men
and watched the bloody hand of the year wave goodbye

by Suzanne Buffam

In the green half-light of three a.m.
my brother wakes me, pulls my slumbering body
into the yard to see the rabbits being born.

They emerge all wet and pink as finger
tips nestled into sawdust beneath
their mother -- one, two, then three

naked bodies in the sudden beam
of my brother's flashlight. We hold
our breath as her small eyes take us

in, red in the light, full of fire,
and there is a moment, heavy as
the moon, when we know it is too late

to retreat, unsee, resume our innocent
beds. The mother's eyes angry
as she hunches up and turns away,

leaves us watching, the wind
cold through our nightclothes, as she swallows
up her children -- one, two, then three

wriggling bodies disappear into her tiny
sharp-toothed mouth, the flashlight
dropping to the grass at our feet.

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Breathing Fire 2

Breathing Fire 2

Canada's New Poets
edited by Lorna Crozier & Patrick Lane
tagged : anthologies (multiple authors), canadian
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Quidi Vidi (Alison Pick)

Walk as far as you can,
then farther, past
the chain-link barring the road,
tire tracks deep as the rut of your mind,
the place you always get stuck.
Wanting more, or wanting
less, to be rid of the word
called wanting. Boulders,
tall grass, shrubs you can't name,
birds you can't name,
the ocean. Being a stranger sneaks you through
the latch of language - briefly. Bottles, you know.
Condoms, you know. And the weight
of being human where other humans have been.
Back of the sea like one line of thought,
slight variation of foam at the shore
where artifice gives itself up. Farther out,
a ledge in the rock
as though attention might help. Turning
for home, hands in your pockets, night mists in
like animal breath, the black-brown shapes
of gathering mammals
bending to drink at the silent pool
of mind submerged in the mind.
If a gap in awareness exists, it's there
you might have slipped through.
Falling (Matt Rader)

Clipped my skull on the lip of the bridge
as I plunged feet-first into the anxious river.
My teeth jawed together, all castanet
or clam-shell, crunched my tongue to pulp.
I couldn't talk, or scream, or lift a finger.
Couldn't remember why I was there or where
amongst all the falling my body had gone.
Rivulets of red ribboned my head like an insect-
painter's quick study of the wingless human--
The Faller--a gesture-drawing in blood and air.
Here's how I picture it: limbs all stutter and wheel
in the rioting wind, all seizure of sign-language
and panic-dance, eyes scrolled back, calculating
velocity by distance, the time left to swallow
or spit before impact. Never mind the fear
or embarrassment, I pissed my pants just for
the warmth in my crotch, that one last sloppy kiss.
Falling and falling is lonely business.
Plate No. 9 (Nathalie Stephens)

Together perhaps they are together in and out of the image one stopping at a distance from the other which would account for the absence of one the one woman who appeared later in the image before the artist who might not have noticed her presence but they both the women the two women both women are present from the beginning inside and outside of the frame the one that marks lines around the image the one this image in which two women standing and leaning one woman present the other not until later until the artist shuddered and the shudder marked by the fissured city imprinted on the image indicates the presence of two women together one woman and then another she the woman they the two women leaning and standing within reach of the artist and the need to readjust the line of vision the one that draws one woman to the other she both they the two women perhaps drawn one to the other and maybe outside of the frame they are lovers,

from Haynes Town Store (Shane Rhodes)

my grandmother said

--he comes from the south east coast of china as a boy
(or a man or as far as I can figure out
wing wong was a hundred all his life)
and after two months on ship or so it is said
in vancouver he buys a pound of chocolate
and after two months of rice and salt water
it tasted of tears wing speaks no english yet
he has selling in his blood like the last dime in his pocket
he buys more chocolate and breaks it to ten pieces
and sells each piece to the immigrants off the boats
for 5� each to people like wing or you or me hungry for land
or anything that looked like dirt and tasted like the dust storm
wing bought his store with
and a bag full of nickels--

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Cant Stop Rhymin on the Range

Cant Stop Rhymin on the Range

by Mike Puhallo & Brian Brannon
tagged : canadian, anthologies (multiple authors)
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Dry Wells of India

Dry Wells of India

An Anthology Against Thirst
edited by George Woodcock, foreword by Margaret Atwood
tagged : canadian, anthologies (multiple authors)
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In 1845 Sir John Franklin with a crew of 129 officers and
men sailed hom England to map the Northwest passage
and to collect specimens of arctic wildlife. His ships the
Erebus and Terror were last seen in July of that year. In 1856 an expedition commissioned by Lady Jane Franklin found proof of Franklin's death and the loss of his men; an official diary exhumed from a cairn on King William Island also described the surviuors'plan to walk south to the mainland. Evidence shows they pulled a life-boat loaded with food and flammable materials overland for hundreds of miles before the last men died. . .

In blade-silver straits between islands even summer
was stillborn, endangered as the adamant songs
of gulls deserting into fogs above the passage

they did not discover. Twin ships lashed by anchor cords
indivisibly to their extinction. Well-crafted hulls
scuttled, crushed by shards of puzzling ice, sharp white as the

marked fringes of maps, or fine English timbers
bleached and bleaching ivory under the blind-
folded hills. A certain shade of white but not

the white of certainty, that fabric of a virginal century's premise, torn. White of the whale, winter's bones
scrimshawed with piercing weather. The Erebus. The Terror,
the terror, To see that tone stare at the page's edge until snow-
blind as the sailors at their dying, staggering
south into gales, white of blizzard hail cracked shorestones and

untouched sheet
of ice, as I fill its pale
whalers peering from the foredeck
of search boats into the freezing)
with terms of unlikely rescue. . .

Sir John Franklin sailed with a
of proofs
and charts mapping the misty transition
from history to incoherence;
on his maps
a white fiercer than uncomposed parchment
a mutinous pallour, unshrouded cautions
of all colours spread outward like a blot, and hinted

there is no passage here for men
from Devon and Somerset
who have healthy sons and delicate
faithful wives
Whose whole world will become a margin
clenched white around their ships--

John Franklin did not discover his aim

but a whiteness in every sound as patient
and impartial as icebergs
awaiting the blind
century sailing onward, credulous, captained by a sane
faith in progress
that read meaning into every passage
because it was sailing ahead too fast, an evolutionary defect

grinding the littoral under heads
where gravestones of three men face north like sentries
across a frozen sound
with no one left to inform
of anything

a hundred more who scrawled
a linear history
in snow and cairns stuffed with rope and empty tins and polished
bones a cold summer south to Victory

then perished
in duned waves
Britannia never ruled, refuted

by blinding storms
the hoar
face of a spreading earth
hauling behind them a life
boat full of England

able in the end
to lift around them with only voices
a fleeting shanty
of song

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