Friday, March 26, 2010

Double Dog Dare

I’ve been “power-reading”. Poring through hundreds of poems looking for the Magical One. Because once a month Canada's hardest working poet laureate Linda Rogers arranges the reading of a poem before Victoria City Council – to remind city dwellers there is more to life than congested traffic, zoning by-laws and referenda on hockey arenas. So Linda has honoured me with a reading spot for May 13, and I’ve been looking for the poem from 2009 that grabs me the most.

Trouble is there are so many great poems, I can't choose. So if there's a poem from 2009 that you think the world should know about send it to us via the comment box below or to my e-mail If we like it, too, I'll share it with the City of Victoria May 13.

Meantime, here's a poem from 2009 that I really like:

Autumn News from the Donkey Sanctuary

Cargo has let down
her hair a little and stopped pushing
Pliny the Elder on

the volunteer labour
During summer it was all Pliny the Elder,
Pliny the Elder, Pliny

the – she’d cease only
for scotch thistle, stale Cheerios, or to reflect
flitty cabbage moths

back at themselves
from the wet river-stone of her good eye. Odin,
as you already know,

was birthed under
the yew tree back in May, and has made
friends with a crow

who perches between
his trumpet-lily ears like bad language he’s not
meant to hear. His mother

Anu, the jennet with
soft hooves of Killaloe, is healthy and never
far from Loki or Odin.

The perimeter fence,
the ID chips like functional cysts slipped
under the skin, the trompe

plough and furrowed
field, the UNHCR feed bag and visiting
hours. These things done

for stateless donkeys,
mules, and hinnies – done in love, in lieu of claims
to purpose or rights –

are done with your
generous help. In your names. Enjoy the photo.
Have a safe winter

outside the enclosure

- Ken Babstock (The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009, Tightrope Books)


Zachariah Wells said...

"Echoes in November" by Robyn Sarah.

David Kosub said...

Well, there's a coincidence. Robyn's poem was the last one I read to my wife last night before we turned in. A wonderful poem, with more going on there than you might think at first read.

Thanks Zach.

Zachariah Wells said...

Indeed. I teased out some of what's going on inside (and around) the poem in an essay published in the most recent issue of Arc (#63), if you're interested.

David Kosub said...

I am very interested. Wonder if it accords at all with my own thoughts. I shall check that out with great interest, Zach, so thanks again.


melusina said...

I find "Autumn News from the Donkey Sanctuary" quite magical. Definitely worthy of being in top spot.

We have a donkey sanctuary not too far from Cobourg, Ontario (north, near Rice Lake)and I have visited the gentle creatures a number of times.


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