Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two poems by Alice Major


Today an arrow of edged joy.
A shaft.  A passage from shadow into gold

September’s aureate branches toss – oro,
aurora, foil of leaves. Bright guild.

An aching blade slips below my ribs.
The sky’s blue hook. The oak’s black gall.

A topaz, faceted to trap light’s glance
in its bevelled cell.

Clematis chimes its hours from yellow bells.
Samaras clatter on ash. Time is called.

Advice to the lovelorn

We are observing Eros,
raddled asteroid, lumpish and erratic,
on a loopy path such that
our planet and that planetoid
just might find themselves
one day trying to inhabit
the same point on their intersecting lines.

So keep a wary eye on it.
It’s no sleek bow-directed arrow,
this potato-shaped tumbler
aimed at no particular target in the dark,
just a stranger across a room
that could suddenly become
much too crowded.

Remember this and contemplate
the drowned crater of Chicxulub,
where an asteroid stove in the planet’s rib,
turned rock to instant liquid
and instantly back to mountain, a crumpled scab.
And how the noise was heard two thousand miles away –
everyone knew your business. How dark
the skies turned, whole species lying down
to die in the shadows.

But remember too –
you can’t see that crater now.
The blue gulf washes over it.
Small creatures you’d previously ignored
became more interesting, filled in the gaps.

And always remember,
though nothing will ever be
the same, still you
are bigger than it is.

Alice Major has published nine highly praised poetry collections, three of which have been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award. She won that award for The Office Tower Tales in 2009. She has also received the Stephan G. Stephansson Award (for Memory’s Daughter). Her newest book is a collection of essays, “Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science,” for which she received the Wilfrid Eggleston award and a National Magazine Award Gold Medal. As Edmonton’s first poet laureate from 2005-7, she spun out poems on everything from potholes to hockey finals.

1 comment:

  1. After having missed seeing you read at the Stroll last night Alice, I was delighted to find these two poems up on D.Barbour's site ... especially love the last line of "Foil" - Time is called ... indeed. And "Advice to the Lovelorn" contains so much gentle irony ... I find myself reading and re-reading; as always, your work astonishes.