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   


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




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