The poems in Lorna Crozier's rich and wide-ranging new collection, a modern bestiary and a book of mourning, are both shadowed and illuminated by the passing of time, the small mechanics of the body as it ages, the fine-tuning of what a life becomes when parents and old friends are gone. Brilliantly poised between the mythic and the everyday, the anecdotal and the delicately lyrical, these poems contain the wit, irreverence, and startling imagery for which Crozier is justly celebrated. You’ll find Bach and Dostoevsky, a poem that turns into a dog, a religion founded by cats, and wood rats that dance on shingles. These poems turn over the stones of words and find what lies beneath, reminding us why Lorna Crozier is one of Canada’s most well-read and commanding voices.
|Publisher:||McClelland & Stewart|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)|
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Not a living soul about,
except for me and the magpie. I know if I don’t keep moving, he’ll pluck the breath from my body, taste it on his tongue before it slides down his throat, giving him new prophecies to speak. He’s the bird Noah didn’t send out,
afraid he’d carry the ark’s complaints to heaven.
Tonight he scallops from the copse of willows to the power pole, stares down at me. I match him cry for cry, not knowing what I mean but feeling good about it, the bird part of my brain lit up.
Coyotes, too, start their music as if the magpie’s flown in to be the guest conductor for the length of time it takes the sun to sink.
He flips his tail, bringing up the oboes then the high notes of the flutes. Other souls,
those I sense but cannot see,
wait among the stones along the riverbank until they’re sure the magpie is distracted,
then scentless and inedible to anyone but him,
they make their wingless foray across the ice and running water,
mouthfuls of silence that, if not for coyotes,
the magpie would hear.
DON’T SAY IT
You admire the wild grasses for their reticence.
When you cut across the dusk for home,
the meadow is more beautiful for all it keeps inside.
Syllables of seeds catch in your socks but they don’t need to say,
Thank you, friend,
even if you’ve carried them for miles.
THE FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR
The new writer sucks her fingers in her crib. There is nothing to distinguish her – like the extra toe on Hemingway’s literary cats – from all the other babies down the block.
She is dreaming ink though she hasn’t seen it in this world yet and no one knows,
least of all her parents,
she loves nothing better than the blank flat whiteness of the bottom sheet when she’s laid damp from her morning bath upon it.