Friday, August 1, 2014

JOANNE ARNOTT














joanne & alastair


exhausting herself with an
ambitious plan, so far she has flown
from the flowers
her food

so fast has she flown
her small body consumed
all stored resources, and
a little bit more

faltering
faltering
fluttering her speedwings

becoming desperate
over the wide
water passage


stepping through the three worlds
in which he is at home, crane feels
the small body drop
upon his breast

there, there, hummingbird
shh shh















he learned about beauty
and sensual love

while running his fingertips gently
through the plumage of an owl

for her, the lessons came up
through the thick undercoat

of a rabbit, pale grey, and the longer
brown-black tips of its mammal hair

while she lays across the path
proposing marriage
to a feral rabbit

he has taken to flying, flying, flying
through the air


mortality and immortality
intertwining on a beach

the sacred is palpable

it rises from the ground
and through our fingertips

it arrives in waves and moves
with tidal grace

lifting a song
using the voices of waters

and the slow flux of rocks
and mountains

we are the small flowers of the morning
we are the creatures of the earth and

of the stars















Bird Companions

As I lie here hour after hour, I seem to enter the wild pastimes of the cliff, and to become a companion of the cormorants and crows. --J.M. Synge, "The Aran Islands"

i. fish

heron stepping long-legged & slow
along the shoreline
sharp-eyed observer of all that flows
below the river surface
a quick darting response, immersing
your head to claim
this fish's life
for your own

then, head aloft again
you strike a calm, calm & stately, pose


becoming airborne
is always a challenge, with those
broad blue wings & fine walking limbs
& graceful neck

to organize everything
& launch skyward
is difficult, yet daily you accomplish
the task

you do fly with poise & strength
& build a sturdy nest among the trees



ii. delta


river winds across land
gathering clay & soil & seed
building a delta that opens wide
a lush expanse where
red-winged blackbird stays
to sing
all year

the geese & duck arrive
& they leave
arrive & they leave
return
& then they leave again

season follows season
year after year they make their path
of wide world migrations
& they do stop by me
they do to rest & feed
but only for a little while


iii. fish


struck by heron's bill
& caught
lifted dripping from my home
into the sky i go

will i be swallowed?
will i slide all the way along

the inside of that neck
come to rest

deep within
become one

with the heron?
or will i topple to the side

fall from a high place
torn?




















iv. delta


a wide orchestral interplay
of water & wild flower

mud & tough, tall grass
the songs of the birds & the frogs
liven our hearts



Joanne Arnott is a M├ętis poet living in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. These two poems are from her most recent collection Halfling spring: an internet romance, published by Kegedonce Press, Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario.

Graphics by Leo Yerxa,  Photographs by Jamie Reid and Carol Reid.