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

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Books available from www.chapters.ca

Hours Acropolis

Port of Entry

Radical Innocence
John Pass John Pass


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)
throwback, smooth-talker.

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 . . .

the moon in my vise
of window jamb and edge
of open window, the device
as I turn my head

of the curtain lifting
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

confirmation
in each sledge swing
on the wedge echo, extol

the working proposition:
be home here in splendour!