YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

December 2002

Co-editor for this Issue: Heather Ferguson
Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Martin Zurla; Rita Stilli; Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp

ISSN 1480-6401





         Another Horizon
         Full Circle
         Muskoka, Ontario
         Ring of Days
         Things I Never Thought I Could Say
         Dream-Laced Apples
         Small deaths, sad interludes
         Warning Signals
         Edible Poem
         The Rebel at 28
         last Sunday
         Getting ready for Christmas
         The Fire Marshal comes to the Nursing Home
         Listening for the Dead
         Blue and White:
            Louise Jopling, 1896, Oil on canvas
         late news

         (excerpt from "Poem in the Fire")
         (excerpt from "Exchange")
         A Poor Lecher's Poem for the Chaste
         Psalm on a Summer Night
         The Ring
         The Widow and the Tulips
         The End of the World




   This month, Ygdrasil features Sara Jane Jordan, Sylvia Adams and
   Marianne Bluger, three poets from Ottawa, Canada.

   Canada has many strong poetry communities and Ottawa is one of them. 
   Ottawa has universities, publishers and a culturally diverse writing 
   scene. I've always felt, however, that we owe our vitality to our 
   grassroots organizations. 

   Thanks to the open mics at Sasquatch, TREE and El Dorado, you can read 
   several times a month without invitation. In Ottawa, we appreciate 
   poetry as a performance art:  a text has to read well on the page, of 
   course, but it has to move a live audience too. The reading series also 
   give poets, writers, publishers and translators a chance to meet 
   regularly, something that has led to many collaborations.

   For this, we have one person to thank - Sara Jane Jordan, a pioneer 
   organizer who started the first grassroots reading series in Ottawa in 
   1973. Here's how she tells the story:

   "I moved to Ottawa from Toronto in 1971.  There wasn't too much happening 
   and I was very disappointed. In Toronto, there had been a lot going on; 
   I had pioneered a number of programs and had reached out into the suburbs.  
   The reading series were held at the House on Gerrard Street 
   (co-established with Ted Plantos), Grossman's Tavern, the Toronto Public 
   Library on College Street, the Pennyfarthing Café, the Vanier and 
   Newtonbrook drop-in centers, and North York libraries. 

   Right from the beginning it was important to me that Canadian poets be 
   represented because very often they were eliminated or lost in the 
   shuffle, and American poets got invited instead - and got well paid too. 
   Canadian poets got the crumbs. I felt that that was very wrong. I 
   co-produced Poet Pourri with Bruce Lawson, who was head of the Saint 
   Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and put my ideas of promoting Canadian 
   poets into practice, continuing what I already been doing. George Swede, 
   Hugh Newton and Eli Mandel were also involved. Arthur Gelber funded the 
   poetry programs at the Saint Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

   When I moved to Ottawa, I missed everyone in Toronto, the contacts. I 
   fell apart.  In 1973, I started a program called Folk & Poetry/The 
   Underground Up at the Nepean Library.  I wanted put poetry in as many 
   places as I could, preferably in places that displayed artworks and 
   encouraged the cultural scene.  

   In 1974, I moved the program to Le Hibou and held readings there until 
   1975, when the café closed. I felt that Le Hibou was a much better place 
   to be than at the universities. At the universities, in Toronto & Ottawa,    
   they only had poetry readings for a select few, that is, two or three        
   readers a year.  They never went beyond that to discover new people and I    
   felt that they were bypassing the whole literary scene. I wanted to bring    
   people from various parts of the country, and not just the big names, but    
   the intermediate and lesser-known poets as well, because I felt that their 
   work was just as important and I knew that the general public had limited 
   access to the universities. 

   I also held readings at Wallack Gallery, Pestalozzi College (a 
   student-run cooperative residence based on Rochedale in Toronto), Le 
   Castor Café, the Mazzerine Gallery, the Interlude Café, the Jack Purcell 
   and McNabb community centres, plus a few other centres I've forgotten. I 
   continued these programs until 1980, when I handed them over to my friend 
   Juan O'Neill, who ran the series for a year.  I then resumed for a year 
   or so (until around 1982), at which time I retired.  It was around then 
   that Juan was looking for a name for a magazine, and I told him that I 
   had a favourite name that I had never been able to use:  Sasquatch.  He 
   liked the name and, in the spring of 1982, he began calling his own 
   reading series Sasquatch. The series still continues today. 

   My own series in Toronto & Ottawa included Milton Acorn, Ted Plantos,        
   Dorothy Livesay, Doug Fetherling, Jim Christie, Myron Turner, Phyllis        
   Gotlieb, Seymour Mayne, Cyril Dabydeen, Chris Levenson, Antonino Mazza,      
   Bill Hawkings, Al Purdy, Joe Rosenblatt, Patrick White, Blaine Marchand,     
   Tony Cosier, Stephanie Nynich, Bill Bisset, Alden Nowlan, Ralph          
   Gustaffson, Charles Roach, George Johnston, Robin Mathews, George Swede      
   and Gary Geddes, among many others.

   In Ottawa, in addition to the featured readers, we had open sets called      
   the Mercedes Benz Express, where a writer could read for a short period. 
   They provided me with the opportunity to hear other people's work and to 
   invite them back as featured readers.  Robin Mathews regularly brought 
   his literary students to Folk & Poetry.

   Along with the poets, I invited various musicians, including Ian Tamblyn, 
   Bob Stark, Melwood Cutlery, Doug Goodeve, Natalie Gold and Ken Stephenson. 
   I felt that the musicians added a great deal to the programs. Charles 
   de Lint and The No Name Jazz were regular guests on the Le Hibou 
   programs. They were particularly popular.

   As well, in 1978, Joe Lacroix and I co-produced programs located at the 
   Blue Gardenia, an Ottawa restaurant. The series lasted for several 
   months and was called The Mercedes Express. Joe Lacroix went on, with 
   others, to found TREE, another reading series.

   Folk & Poetry also included visual artists on programs, including Sara 
   Hale, John Campsal and Honz Petersen, an artist and poet.

   One of the most interesting programs included Ted Plantos, John Campsal 
   and Melwood Cutlery - great vitality and interaction."

   . . . 

   Heather Ferguson
   Ottawa, Canada
   November 30, 2002

SARA JANE JORDAN Tightrope ~~~~~~~~~ this has been a day like no other ripe w/rage maimed of reason charged w/searching for car keys w/faulty timing chain mechanisms night floods in like a cranky door framed & dark w/knit browed frustration the brittle hours bend & quiver SNAP like twigs (appeared in Open Set: A TREE Anthology, 1990)
Blueprints ~~~~~~~~~~ you are the last figure on the totem upright but serious with a calculating smile you are my last excursion into darkness I am no longer afraid of your mockery but drink a toast with you for the sake of past present future this year of independence be still while I brush midnight out of my hair (appeared in Open Set: A TREE Anthology, 1990)
Comparisons ~~~~~~~~~~~ some of us represent logic & more logic methodical as parliamentary procedures pure & simple as categories in turn: some of us represent logic & innovation both practised when supplies & banal solutions are no longer desired or identified with the manner in which we perceive has become a religion (appeared in Open Set: A TREE Anthology, 1990)
Exile ~~~~~ returning from the plateau I delve into roots churn the atoms up the steps to the pyramid from my uncharted sea roots on waves the geography of islands my free space mind on wings I swallow stitch double eight blue (appeared in Open Set: A TREE Anthology, 1990)
Visualization ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ thoughts contain me silent as the white snow molecules that heap in the gut tie knots & cat's cradles take three months to unravel my sense of freedom lies like a beacon wrapped in the mind discarding ambiguous synthesized lines I no longer toy or play with I see the apple tree arched & gilded with splendour breathlessly stomping waiting for spring muse is a garden voluptuous with blossoms painting their ambitions close to the old chest-high wooden fence Dudley slumbers or prowls Down by the lilacs & yarrow never gets lost
Another Horizon ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ this skull contains a halo of trees all forms of evolution the world presents chaos the blood proceeds with caution softly as a whisper inhabiting an island of the night chemistry decides a fate gives time a season all roads lead to centrality forming multiple purpose all atoms react by instinct or reason reason presents a choice stubborn & tenacious as tree roots growing through rock I am learning how to temporarily abandon an ego to synthesize my hours crisscrossing the arts compulsive about poetry I am attempting to understand the dominance of stars continually pushing myself towards another horizon
Full Circle ~~~~~~~~~~~ the tree mushrooms in the interior shuts inconsequential elements out roots into bedrock imposes beginnings of shape & dimension there are such tiny fragments to orchestrate they demand the patience to be exact to recall far distances & wait until they arch themselves full circle
Postscript ~~~~~~~~~~ this day represents the burgeoning continent of language that touches changes tenderizes the heart peels away the superficial facade of everyday lives in the expansive deep pools of perception it prompts us to empathize search analyse & be infinitely more human
Muskoka, Ontario ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ moving into the cosmos the mystic ritual of stars returns to the deepening lake
Ring of Days ~~~~~~~~~~~~ we live & breathe articulate our boundaries & spaces all the mystical lines appear like Genies stepping out of the bottle our silences are self-contained as we watch the sky shine like pearl buttons just above the rim of the land time moves on its silver hooves of lightning accelerates the need to produce a body of substance no matter how small that is tenacious enough to survive that does not shake loose from its housing
Things I Never Thought I Could Say ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ you bring me joy a new era which is mine also this communion becomes self-evident in the bright spring air I want to celebrate every small leaf that allows this unfolding that eliminates the need for self-consciousness exults every moment of discovery winging its evolution this is the occasion that reveals an honesty without pretence or hesitation you gave me a hope for tomorrow a future I thought I would never own
Dream-Laced Apples ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ one shapes & reshapes paints & outlines until incoherence is harnessed & leashed in the crown-filled garden of night memory shakes every dream-laced apple high up in the tree
Notation ~~~~~~~~ all the reflective journeys have brought us to this moment night unwinds in a gypsy garden etched & painted with Sweet Williams Roses & Daisies
SYLVIA ADAMS Settee ~~~~~~ Before styrofoam, cellophane, before, even, Levi cut his first jeans, when Victoria was young and Grandfather's Aunt Prudence got married, lovers hugged opposite ends of the horsehair stuffed settee, uncles knocked pipes against its walnut arms, maiden aunts, chastely upholstered, dropped crumbs of gossip into its fine-seamed crevices; children, seen and not heard, sedate in britches and flounces, folded their hands in their laps and waited for neatly stitched commands. Before there were Great Wars; before, even, the Crimea or the Black Hole of Calcutta, when doctors bled evil from consumptives, all children were born in sin and God would have given man wings if He had meant him to fly, the settee flexed black leather muscles beneath buttocks of bombazine and creaked in rhythm to well-steeped, quilted chatter. Now, shrouded in dust in the storeroom behind old tires and snowblowers, it stanches its wounds with cobwebs, keeps its elbows close to its sides. Spiders and woodbugs haul away its history, while the slow, hoarse croak of its springs tries to recapture velvet stroking, voices we cannot recognize
Small deaths, sad interludes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My grandmother's only photograph of her son was snapped as he lay in his coffin sixteen months old sleeping in post-Victorian innocence fair curls sculpted about his ears. Stanley, meant to carry the family name. The picture hung in her bedroom. As a child I never questioned the strange-shaped sepia cradle beribboned satin pillow the sprig of forget-me-nots between his hands. She never tired of telling how she rocked him one afternoon brushed his petal cheek with her lips - the nursery curtains stirred and she knew; how she lowered the still, small body in a tub of lukewarm water sponged his shoulders, clapped his hands together, patted and pleaded and called 'til the neighbours came; how my mother, age three, ran from her bath each night for weeks screaming, You drowned my brother! My hair turned white, my grandmother said; I was only 28. She grieved for almost 70 years until only her own small deaths, conceived in daily fears worn thin of love, absorbed her. From the bones of those brief, sad interludes mothers you meet in factories, shops and boardrooms creep into darkened nurseries, press cheeks against lips and nostrils coax children from sleep, lock their laughter in bulging albums; carry the family name on calling cards.
Warning Signals ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ People used to say, how do you stand it? noise at all hours, waken the dead. Mother, alert to my brother's bronchial cough, never woke to the engine's hoarse, relentless keening. To us, it was part of childhood, like crickets in summer, the clop of the milkman's horse. At night, the house shuddered, the roar sliced through our bedrooms but never touched our dreams. Mondays my mother ran clothes through the wringer, blueing the whites, starching collars, hanging those shapeless bodies on the clothesline to dance to the train's whistle; black specks all over the sheets and shirts, my sundress, the yellow beach towel. The tracks marked the town's north boundary; beyond, campgrounds, a sprinkling of farms where pastures straddled a creek and yawned into the sky. We lived south, on the town side. In school days, the neighbourhood girls played ball on a makeshift diamond beside the freightyard. "Don't get too close to the trains," the big girls said. "You'll get sucked under." I pictured us all - Patsy, Barbara, Joan - gulped in that spasm of dragon's breath, ground under the wheels. Even Shirley, the meanest hitter, swooshed up like a leaf in a windstorm. At 12 I made promises impossible to keep: stay off the tracks, take the long way round to my best friend's house, be home by 9. I forgot the time, took the shortcut along the tracks; safe, I was sure, until I reached the crossing: my father, pacing the darkness beside the signal, silent in his reproach. Years ago. Now I drive back to town, to the old house with its new aluminum siding where the washing tumbles bright in the dryer. At the crossing, students are huddled around an old Remembrance Day wreath, poppies and purple ribbons jostling cut daffodils, a blue balloon. Everyone hugging and sobbing. Two teenagers, best friends, had been walking along the tracks on school lunch break. They saw the train, heard the whistle. Jumped aside into the path of a freight coming the other way. One warning blast drowned out the other. Dawn was tossed 50 feet, died in Emergency; Candi lay under the train. They covered her body with two bright yellow blankets. I stay overnight in the house, hear the dirge of every train, a phantom wail that haunts every mile of cheated sleep and I wonder how anyone sleeps as long as trains are moving and our children lie under blankets flowers quickly dying beside the railroad tracks.
Edible Poem ~~~~~~~~~~~ for Meredith Clutching a moon of smiles I sat down and wrote you a peanut butter and jelly poem It's so seldom the world is clear enough that I can see into the next millennium or even across the street The hardest thing to create is reality The old poets knew this when they wrote of alabaster skin and lips like pomegranates and didn't turn a fair maiden's head And Edgar Cayce, when he slept on his books and recited their contents on rising wasn't diagnosing the future so much as taking the pulse of all the lovers in the world hoping that some were still alive And my lover knows it, for he's not the kind of man you serve ketchup to, ever Word merchants today prefer to be safe, traditional and thin But to keep you from losing your sense of permanence or getting caught in the crossfire of expectations there's nothing like peanut butter and jelly spread between crusty slices of whole grain home truths and just plain, old fashioned love which, incidentally, was never meant to be perfect
The Rebel at 28 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Summer piles up inside you and sits there like a heavy lunch. Nothing moves. You blame the heat. Your intentions are still unpressed loose-fitting, often borrowed never returned on time. Your mother tells you one day you'll wake up to find you're forty. Your father carves you a drumstick of opportunity. You read old classics abandoned in college your tin cup philosophy haunts studios, galleries speaks homespun, wholegrain You don't fall away through the centuries to the time you achieved innocence Peace, maybe. Or intuition. But sometimes in sleep you turn ferocious Your nostrils flare, your lip curls; your cat sucks your breath reedily, head on your pillow. Waking, you can't recall the moment impeccable, pungent, relentless like a needle driven in pink, young veins. Now your eyes burn dark and birdlike You fear you will die untranslated sleep in the arms of old men slide down the rabbit hole into a happy ending
Fiesta ~~~~~~ Bag lady on wheels, long past the age of consumptive coughs (ailing Victorian heroine) she belches rudely after each feast of groceries dry cleaning, boxes of books for the Salvation Army shakes out her mud-caked petticoats hiccups maps from the doorless glove compartment chortling, disgorges schoolgirls, goalies into puddles and snowbanks At night with her one good eye she ogles old men, arid, scrofulous bleats as they lurch across her path to oozing trash cans, alleys narrow as knives benches chill as mortuary slabs
last Sunday ~~~~~~~~~~~ It's not easy to get rid of you. Last Sunday my mother found your name in her birthday book. "Do you ever hear from him?" she asked. "Never," I said. She pencilled a thin straight line and turned the page. I went home and washed my hair.
Getting ready for Christmas ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ for J.K.H., 1919-1987 You are giving away your life sending me your jewellery, clothes, old photographs, tying your past in small, neat packages, attaching little notes: This was your grandmother's watch, this gold chain your uncle gave me. I knitted the scarf one cold, dark winter. We gathered the stones to make this bracelet in the Badlands near Medicine Hat . . . You write nervous, bird-like letters scratching about in your memory for each little seed of meaning, each little blade of relief, some straw of immortality I save everything, boxes within boxes, all the words, said and unsaid, knowing a thank-you note is not something you can take with you.
The Fire Marshal comes to the Nursing Home ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Too many books," he says, "this room could go up like a tinder box." The shelves are full, and the dresser top, the wire basket on Mother's walker. He scowls at the three weeks of newspapers, the magazines from last winter, real estate flyers and TV Guides, book marks lolling like limp tongues from the current crop of bestsellers. My mother says nothing; she lies on her bed, propped up by pillows. She's reading Maeve Binchy, just got to the part where the heroine loses her lover - it can't end here! She looks up when the Fire Marshal leaves, takes off her reading glasses. "Look in the closet," she whispers. "In back of the boxes of Christmas cards. D'you think he saw that bag of books from the nice lady down at the church?" I spill the bag's contents onto her bed - Cookson, Clavell, the English Raj. Biographies, poems, the Basics of Plumbing. "We'll get organized next time I come," I say, already imagining the rest of my life: when I'm 87, I'm going to live in an igloo of books with just enough space for the dinner tray. She smiles and picks up her glasses. "Here's a Mary Stewart you haven't read. Would you like to take some of these home?" She reads everything, even my mind.
Listening for the Dead ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My father's death surprised him as much as anyone. A stroke they said, like his mother before him. No warning except for an aching neck the day before. Didn't know what a headache was, said my mother, who'd suffered from migraines all her life. Preparing for bed one night, thinking perhaps of Hallowe'en candy, in case the grandchildren came. Or thinking, At last, a Florida winter. My mother heard him fall. By the time I arrived, there was my father, who'd vowed to leave this world a tidy place, debt-free, being carried out in a blanket, a doctor as old as himself struggling to keep those cold, pale feet from bumping the stairs. Don't look, someone said. Or perhaps I imagined they said it. Toward morning, we tried to sleep - my mother, her mother, who lived with them, and I - I on the couch in the living room. I kept listening for him but the shadows were shocked into silence. The winter after he died, his slippers whispered across the carpet, the way they did when, at four, I lay on my stomach, shading Rapunzel's hair with my favourite jumbo pink crayon. He stood at the kitchen phone, receiver to his ear in voiceless dialogue. Perhaps in repeating daily rituals he would discover that nothing had changed. One night early in May, he sat at a banquet table, eating cake with strangers. I called to him, but he rose, walked away into dazzling air. Wait! Take me with you! He turned and held out his hand: Not yet. The light an ovation of white beyond him searing my throat as I woke, his hand still nudging mine: Wait. My mother takes flowers to the cemetery in containers she knows won't get stolen. Is she thinking how the lilacs she brings brush her cheek like fingertips of the dead, how my grandmother's mouth opens like a bird's, waiting for ice cream?
Blue and White: Louise Jopling, 1896, Oil on canvas ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Friends, sisters, you've swept the room clean with sunlight, clipped the first yellow roses. A gratuitous rinse of the best china; those angel wing sleeves herald no ordinary tea - only gentlemen suitors or perhaps Victoria herself would answer the gilt-edged missive. Your secrets are spoken so softly they leave no mark. You could be bathing feet in a temple; she could be holding warm fruit in a marketplace. You are as sure of tomorrow as the artist is of her palette. Nothing here yearns for migration; the canvas carries no colour for what moulders in other rooms; yet you will grow old among strangers, loving men who are shadowy, inaccessible, hers staining the air with port and cigars, yours with the stench of coal and ashes still on his hands in the canopied darkness. Your paths diverge: city, country, finally an ocean between, your friendship reduced to dutiful script. Careful as porcelain. Never a word about what's lost or broken. You will come back in dreams, seeking that honeyed warmth - but dampness will seep in everywhere, quarrel with the boarded-up smells of wood, shrivelled rose, lye. I want to wear sunlight in a blue and white kitchen, pouring that soundless waterfall where secrets bind me, my hands never so clean
late news ~~~~~~~~~ "...it took us years/to part..." Anna Akhmatova: "Breakup" Whether rain or full moon, nights I can't sleep I pace to soothe the wakeful music, switch channels for late news. From my window - trees pegged to the skyline; the glow of paper-lantern buildings afloat in darkness. To the north, lights squabble among the river's waves. Only a flute of cloud threads across that other landscape we've not yet grown old enough to forget. This is the life I want: books, pen, a cosmos of soft blankets. Now when I hear the universe is expanding, will hold together for only a few more million years, I know I can't afford a moment's breath to treasure the nothingness of your presence in last night's dream
"The Fire Marshall comes to the Nursing Home" won the Seeds Magazine International Poetry contest in 1998, was printed in vol. 5 issue 1 1998 and was reprinted in the Gloucester Spoken Art Instant Poetry Anthology, 2002; "Getting Ready for Christmas," "last Sunday" and "Settee" were published in Canadian Author Magazine, Fall, 1994; "The Rebel at 28" was published as "28" in Open Set, 1990; "Fiesta" was published in Bywords, August 1991; "Small deaths, sad interludes" was published in Arc, Autumn 1991 and was reprinted in No Choice but to Trust Anthology, 2001; "Warning Signals" was published in The New Quarterly, 1996, and is reprinted in Oval Victory Anthology, 2002; "late news" was published in 2001 A Space Anthology, Cranberry Tree Press; "Listening for the Dead" was printed in The Grist Mill, 2001.
MARIANNE BLUGER (excerpt from "Poem in the Fire") ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The peonies burn because of the sun you cannot see the flame but in true night the noche oscura beauty consumes itself openly Even now in invisible fire petals curl without smoke without ash Do you suffer and see * * *
(excerpt from "Exchange") ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ * * * A live coal buried in the dead grey ash but fuel enough set by as would kindle the raging devastation of this frail wooden doorway and each papered passage I have been scorched in dreams by the smouldering lump sat up to smell my own flesh burn and watched the glow This carbon stone was made from press on living stuff green sap-wood vised into keeping by the energy it took to close a dream
Nightfruit ~~~~~~~~~~ Inside the melon translucent green inside the moon dew sweet I think melon in my lap you pale you cool chartreuse the sun has swollen you passive in the vinefield you opalescent solid edible you heavy tender A thief might stumble down the deep black ruts but like a naked man and painted fluorescent Great fruit sprung from silver coinseed in the dark season of wind and water of howling and blood hidden and come of melonflower burst that starred passion of early summer Now in fall moon smiles 'come' says 'eat this aphrodisiac of all my vestals'
A Poor Lecher's Poem for the Chaste ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ All the poets I know chant chaste is waste letting their eyes wander and quote Herrick who to be unfair to two is oversimple as a whimple leave us not squander our youth our prime on Herrick I mean to celebrate if only with a breath the celibate asleep in narrow beds shy nuns tidy spinsters pale book-keepers in rented quarters the long widowed and fat mild monks rough backwood bachelors who flush to the hair-root to talk to a woman whoever maintains purity by grace - there are no other tricks in the chosen fix of circumstance This flowering delicacy of spirit of body makes me remember my languishing virtue my kin and my hearth and quicker than Herrick slinking death
Psalm on a Summer Night ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The summer darkness is soft here on the front steps bleeding invisibly into the night How long will it be this intolerable love this affliction of ecstacy The warm black river moves into the warm black sea By day whose face can you not search and immediately know too much how the good suffer how the cruel are undone by refusing to suffer Plath bled tortured by vivid tulips only a pot of red tulips but violent with life like a knife killing and killing the only - the most brutal way to die Chaotic beauty stabs the eye pity for fools is shredding the heart Exhausted by the world to yet concede how perfect is the world and move like a chained tide to the oblivion of heaven Take the pulsing summer night never to hold it just for songs And take these songs Take the bruise of even most tender love Attend me now my battered Lord I can trust as the weary are trusting for rest to this night your silent your enfolding death
The Ring ~~~~~~~~ I wear no ring on any finger but these cold years since I fell whole into your eyes any man may see the mark of my enslavement It is an absent gaze turned inward twined around a memory As indifferent to him as the backs of embracing lovers their whole selves closed in a private circle
The Widow and the Tulips ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I know an old woman in a black dress She says to me repent pray and confess I tell her my longing - that it's like wind shuddering tulips to look in your dark eyes I plead that I love you fiercely truly well with the pound of my driven blood the rise of my breath its fall. She says yes yes Consider widowhood relieved of bliss Then though I crave to mate and age with you I reckon for the day the hour of death I toss and pray and toss for long nights through I curse the widow woman I curse you who are both passionate and chaste. I do confess It is your very virtue lays me waste.
Sonata ~~~~~~ Piano notes fall like petals in the room I shall never know your kiss Yet gently your love like the music comes without touch
The End of the World ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stars drop like coins through fingers silver through the black branches Blue plums dark leaves hung thick in this orchard when he came The plums the leaves fell Now even the stars . . .


   Sara Jane JORDAN was born in Toronto in August 6, 1926. Jane Belfry 
   Appleton, sixth generation Canadian, mixed heritage:  English; French; 
   American; Canadian; Scottish; Irish; wrote first poem at age 7.  Started 
   writing poetry seriously at age 40, using her married name Jane White up 
   until 1972.  Established a series of programs named Folk & Poetry in a 
   number of locations in Toronto & North York, promoting other poets & 
   artists from right across Canada. Co-established The House on Gerrard 
   Street with Ted Plantos.  Moved to Ottawa 1971. Changed name to Jane 
   Jordan in 1973.  Established a number of programs under the umbrella 
   Folk & Poetry / The Underground Up until 1982.   In 1988, TREE 
   established the Jane Jordan Award to honour a living Canadian poet. 
   There are only two living Canadian poets who have had awards named after 
   them - Irving Layton & Jane Jordan. Two chapbooks were published in 
   1974 & 1976.  Poems have been published in a number of periodicals & 
   anthologies, & broadcast on CKCU-FM, CHEZ-FM, Q101-FM & the CBC.  Jordan 
   has been a strong supporter of Canadian literature over the years.
   Ottawa writer Sylvia ADAMS is the author of the novel, This Weather of 
   Hangmen, and of the chapbook Mondrian's Elephant, which won the 1998 
   Cranberry Tree Press poetry chapbook contest. She has been published in 
   several journals and anthologies, including Arc, The New Quarterly, 
   and three League of Canadian Poets Vintages. She is teacher/facilitator for 
   two poetry groups, and editor for two chapbooks by the Field Stone Poets 
   of Ottawa.

   Marianne BLUGER was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1945. She is the author of  
   seven books of poetry: The Thumbless Man is at the Piano (1981); 
   On Nights Like This (1984); Gathering Wild (1988); 
   Summer Grass (1992); Tamarack & Clearcut (1997); 
   Gusts (1998); and Scissor, Paper, Woman (2000) 
   (published by Penumbra Press, http://www.penumbrapress.com). Marianne 
   won the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry in 1993 and a Canada     
   Council Arts B Award in 1989. She enjoys birdwatching, gardening, 
   natural history and hiking. You may visit her website at 


  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2002 by 
  Klaus J. Gerken.

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