John's most recent book, Water Stair was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award in Poetry and is nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award (BC Book Prize for Poetry). To order, visit the publisher Oolichan Books
For more Poets
Books available from www.chapters.ca
Port of Entry
Touring Utah: An Object Lesson
Tease from the van's speed, mind's
slip-stream, the shif-
ty vistas: landform, fossil of a cloud.
Going where you think to
go: Four Corners, Inspiration Point,
Angel's Landing. Work 'round the case
of the Anasazi displayed in shreds
of sandal, 800 AD corn-on-the-cob.
Buy turquoise tumbled by the Navajo
and an arrowhead recycled as a charm
against the wind's slick way with it,
them, you (old earth entire on its lathe)
Can you ease down the sliprock, toes
to the river's exhaustive marginalia
and not know?
Pant up the trail
and to hand in the canyon
sandstone in flesh-tones
is hot for you.
These Are The Days
These are the days. They shimmer
and close (summer's finale)
against an urgency I harbour
a strenuous ache . . .
on that further background, stars
at night's extremities, exquisite, precise.
It's taken me years to get the filing right
on the chainsaw teeth to chew
straight through windfall fir. I've got it
these days out of the blue
and my chisels sharpened and oiled
in their little rack, the crowns
of the trees on the heads of the mountains, first gold
maple flashing — an alchemy
of the leaves' breezy jiggle
and eyes' skill after all, the air
as hollow and honest as ever.
As ever and ever. Eons
of light gone cerulean ring
in each sledge swing
on the wedge — echo, extol
the working proposition:
be home here in splendour!