ditch,

the poetry that matters

Kathryn MacLeod

Kathryn MacLeod lives in Victoria, BC. Her previous books and chapbooks include Entropic Suite (above/ground press, 2012), mouthpiece (Tsunami Editions, 1996) and How Two (Tsunami Editions, 1987) and her works appears in anthologies including Companions and Horizons: An Anthology of Simon Fraser University Poetry (2005), Writing Class: The Kootenay School of Writing Anthology (1999), and East of Main (1989). Recent publications in journals include: Dusie (July 2013) http://dusie.blogspot.ca; 17 seconds (Winter 2013) http://www.ottawater.com/seventeenseconds; and Truck (August 2012) http://halvard-johnson.blogspot.ca/

 

Unlikely country

 

the story of the rise to power, the

elegance, the speech, the dress

a culture we all wanted

 

to be a part of something

purposeful, not life

happened but constructed

 

we were human and

the war was like a suitcase

 

(left with food & water)

 

built life with a family

drove each Sunday in the suburbs

See how much it’s grown

 

but never quite sure

of the day-to-day

it was all our want, our bloody wanting

understood hard work

 

to keep the wolves at bay

the dream of always

moving forward

 

accepted fate and father

stepping sideways, waiting

 

do our lives begin

the fog of love has lifted   




Lineage

I find myself moving from discovery to discovery. I find myself revising, and now and then renewing, the terms of my life.

(Maxine Greene, 1995)

This is my birthday

These are the old home trees                       

(Susan Howe, 1987)

 

1. Call

 

I will meet you on my long walks

 

along the edges of the woods, the stories

dark your voices clearly

 

sensible of loss  (my mentors)

but understood as an inversion

 

(mourned too long and thus, too far away)

till finding fire I found

 

great love, the broken

whole of history, bless us this power

 

This is my house, my warm and waking house

  

 

2. Missing

I want to hear

your bright voice, singing

 

(I was before and once at loss)

delusions, ash, suspicious

 

death of categories, planets

round the mother sun

 

an apocalypse ago

a hundred tragedies befell

the poet

 

winter never warm

enough and summer

air too soft and viscous

 

held sounds we could not make

and strained to hear

 

 

3. Return

 

now the good life you rejected

will become your life

 

words overflow the bookcase

into the road, the garden

 

vegetation warded &

escaping nightly

 

trees burst with crows

the earth sheds darkness

 

our old home happiest

at the edges

 

the big world was desolate

without you                       

 

 

4. Foundling

 

to find the edges of the world

write deeply

 

I stood outside your life

the windows of the city burning

 

until I heard your voice

 

the blessed relentless questions

brilliant dark

 

a long unsettled time to meet

 

just ahead, around

the corner in the hunted woods

 


Blind Bay 

 

The smell of coming storm

and trees burdened

with heat

 

a long day motionless

 

squalls threatening

the middle distance

 

It took a long time

for the hot rain

 

for the ending of summer

 

the wind shaking

 

the whole world awake

the storm passing

inside us

 

 

**

 

Eastward on past Copper Island

a boat untethered

 

drifts

 

aimless up the still lake

where once mosquitoes rose

as thick as scarves

 

It was a long way to the island but

I would have swam it

 

one day

 

wary, we went to bed

and listened

 

voices soft as embers

all was well now all was well

 

That night, they kept on drinking

too many hot days

 

hollow we could not see

beyond them

 

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                                                                                                              September 5, 2013