UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The layers of earth Thomas, Patrick Hallman 1967

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THE LAYERS OP EARTH b y PATRICK HALLMAN THOMAS B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1953 B.Ed., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1957 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OP MASTER OF ARTS i n t h e d e p a r t m e n t o f ENGLISH We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1967 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of • B r i t i s h Columbia,, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study, I f u r t h e r agree that per-m i s s i o n f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i -c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission* ENGLISH Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada Date April 2$, 1967  i i ABSTRACT T h e s e f i f t y - s e v e n poems a r e a p a r t i a l r e c o r d o f t h r e e j o u r n e y s , i n f i v e s t a g e s . The j o u r n e y s a r e : (1) c h r o n o l o g i c a l g r o w t h t h r o u g h and f r o m b o y h o o d ; (2) c h a n g e s o f p h y s i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t , o f p l a c e ; , (3) i n t e r i o r j o u r n e y s r e l a t i n g i n v a r i o u s ways t o t h e o t h e r t w o . The s t a g e s , o r movement o f t h e poems, as r e v e a l e d i n t h e s e c -t i o n d i v i s i o n s , i s : (1) f r o m a v i e w o f i m m e d i a t e s u r -r o u n d i n g s ; (2) t h r o u g h o b s e r v a t i o n o f a w i d e r s c e n e ; (3) t h r o u g h e x p l o r a t i o n o f s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t , w i t h i t s i n t e r i o r c o u n t e r p a r t ; (4.) t h r o u g h i n v o l v e m e n t i n s o c i o -p o l i t i c a l c o n c e r n s ; (5) and f i n a l l y t o a s h a r p e r f o c u s on t h e i n d i v i d u a l a g a i n , t h i s t i m e on t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s o n l y t r u l y s h a r e d g r o u p o f s e n s a t i o n s , l o v e . The b o o k h a s t h e o n l y p o s s i b l e c e n t r a l theme: ( b i r t h - g r o w t h - l o v e - d e a t h ) l i f e . The e x p e r i e n c e s we h a v e a r e b a s i c a l l y o u r r e s p o n s e s t o o b j e c t s o r f o r c e s . Our b e i n g s e x i s t as a n e t w o r k o f r e s p o n s e s t o p h y s i c a l , m e n t a l and s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t , t h e s e b e i n g b u t a s p e c t s o f o u r own p h y s i c a l s e l v e s . We r e c e i v e , o b s e r v e , e x p l o r e , e x p r e s s , and l o v e , t h r o u g h s e n s e and s e n s a t i o n . "We t h i n k b y f e e l i n g . " And we c a n f e e l o n l y t h e s u r f a c e s ( i n s i d e , o u t s i d e , a l o n g t h e e d g e s ) b e c a u s e as s o o n as we a r e t h r o u g h one s u r f a c e we a r e o n t o t h e s u r f a c e o f a n o t h e r l a y e r . S o , p a r a d o x i c a l l y , c o n c e r n f o r s u r f a c e s p u l l s us deep i n t o t h e o b j e c t o r e x p e r i e n c e ; s o a l s o t h e r e s p o n s e i s _ t h e e x p e r i e n c e . ("The Medium i s t h e m essage.") i i i The poems then are su r f a c e s , sensations, responses. And a l l of t h i s i s i n a context of "earthness." "Earth" i s the s t a r t i n g p l a c e and the raw m a t e r i a l graveyard of a l l our mental, s p i r i t u a l , and s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s . Our experiences, sensations, imaginings, thoughts, r e a c t i o n s , a c t i o n s , hopes, f e a r s , and n a t u r a l - c u l t u r a l environments are "but d i f f e r e n t aspects of one substance, o u r s e l v e s , d i f f e r e n t l a y e r s of'our own earth. Our journeys and our stages of development are t r a v e l s through the l a y e r s of the earth. In s t r u c t u r e , the whole c o l l e c t i o n p a r a l l e l s each p a r t , and the e s s e n t i a l s t r u c t u r e of each poem. The poem looks above and below, w i t h i n and without, ahead and back. Each s e c t i o n begins and ends wi t h a poem look-i n g both ways. The c o l l e c t i o n begins w i t h a poem s t a t i n g the "why" of i t a l l , and ends wi t h the "Beginning." The main theme of each s e c t i o n i s interwoven through the other s e c t i o n s . U n i t y i s provided a l s o by re-occurrence of symbols and images, and by a c e r t a i n tone or po i n t of view throughout. But the s i g n i f i c a n c e s of these elements change w i t h changing context, as the poems uncover suc-c e s s i v e " l a y e r s of e a r t h . " ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PIDDLEHEAD DELTA B.C. CENTENNIAL ANTHOLOGY TONIGHT'S HOUSE POTLATCH TABLE OP CONTENTS I . Now . . » 1 Now 2 I I . R e c e i v i n g 3 On t h e P o i n t k Summer P l a c e 5 Down B e a c o n H i l l 6 V i c t o r i a 7 W a t c h i n g t h e W i n d 8 The S h e l l 9 T r a v e l l e r 10 T s a w w a s s e n I • 11 T s a w w a s s e n I I 12 M e s s a g e f r o m t h e S u b u r b s 13 I I I . O b s e r v a n c e s 14-D e c l a r a t i o n 15 N a t u r e S t u d y 16 S u d d e n P a s s i n g ••• 17 S e a s o n a l 18 Hawk 19 H i l l t o p 20 To My F a t h e r 21 S e a s o n s 22 G u l f I s l a n d s 2 3 R e m i n d e r s 2i| v i I V . E x p l o r i n g 25 C r e d o 2 6 E x p l o r a t i o n 27 The P l a c i n g 28 J o u r n e y 2 9 Totems 30 D e r r i c k I 31 D e r r i c k I I 32 U n i v e r s i t y 33 V i e w o f t h e C i t y 34-T o u r o f t h e C i t y 35 M o t h 36 P r o d u c t o f 37 A c a d e m i c 38 V. L a m e n t s ko C e l l o C o n c e r t Maybe 4-1 P . o s t w a r S . i g h t s e e i n g .... ii3 E a s t e r 44-R e s u r r e c t i o n 45 T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y : A P.R. P r o b l e m 4.6 Have Time 4-7 L e t t e r B a c k 4^8 A m u l e t s ••• 49 C o n v i v i a l G o t h i c 50 T h e a t r e , C a f e o r Somewhere 51 P i c n i c a t P a s s c h e n d a e l e 52 Memo: Re T h e o l o g i c a l D i s p u t a t i o n 53 v i i V I . L o v i n g s Bk-P o e t i c s 55 E v e n t 56 R o c k and Mumble 57 P o l a r i t y 58 L o c a l G e o g r a p h y 59 On t h e D i f f i c u l t i e s 60 A p p o i n t m e n t 61 C o n v e r s e 62 M o u n t a i n 63 Mute &k V I I . C o n c l u s i o n 65 B e g i n n i n g 66 I NOW . . . NOW My reason reaches out a c l u t c h of words I must catch quick that sun b i t ( s l i p p i n g down my f i n g e r s to the sinews past the eye) :because sun, at the musty down end of a day once dawned won't wait f o r clumsy hands to f i d d l e w i t h a b s t r a c t i o n . I I ON THE POINT S i d e s l i p p i n g down t h e u n s e e n c l i f f s o u t t h e r e , a s t r i d e n t g u l l r e f l e c t s a c h i l d ' s s a l t and t a n g l e d c r i e s woven i n t h e s w e l l and s p r a y s t i l l w a v e r i n g on t h i s c o a s t o f s p r i n g ; ( b l a c k b i r d s r e d w i n g e d r i p p l e and d a r t — g o r s e - t h o r n e d , t h e y c o u n t e r p o i n t t h e r e s t l e c h i l d and g u l l d e c l a i m i n g i n t h e s u n ) ; . . . a l m o s t t r u e , b u t a s e a s o n o f t h e s e a g r a s s - r o b e s t h e c l a y t h e a n c i e n t b r o o m b r i s t l e s . SUMMER PLACE Sand s c a t t e r e d c h i l d r e n f l y t h e i r l a u g h i n g h i g h abo^e t h e g u l l c r i e s p l a y i n g t h e a i r ; s u d d e n l y t h e a f t e r n o o n d r o p s i n t o e c h o e s f r o m c l i f f s i d e c o t t a g e s o f s a l a d and I c e c r e a m ; b e y o n d t h e t w i l i g h t s c r e e n s c h i l d h o o d e d p a t t e r n s d w i n d l e w i t h t h e g u l l s ; a s i l e n t d a r k c o i l s i n b e l o w t h e s a n d ; humped b a c k s s w e l l t h e c o v e r i n g s e a . DOWN BEACON HILL Once we r a n the ragged h i l l t o bay, c h a s i n g i t s t a t t e r e d p a t h s , t h r e a d i n g t h i c k e t s broom and gorse c u t , c l u t c h e d a t our s l e e v e s . No time f o r q u e s t i o n s f r o m the permanent g r a y g u l l s t h a t g a r b l e d r e p e t i t i o u s a i r ; no c a r e f o r l o v e r s s t a r t e d from t h e i r n e s t s i n the b l o s s o m i n g woven h i l l toward the s e a . Our q u a r r y would not s t a y ; the c a r p i n g b i r d s c o u l d see how l o n g the r e a c h i s o f t h e w i s h i n g s h o r e . VICTORIA V i c t o r i a , I cannot get a metaphor from you, except perhaps i n s h i f t i n g sky, or the same g u l l , r e s t l e s s , or sea writhing In my writing In beside the grass-clothed mounds that f o r t i f i e d those barked brown forebears against a l l but cannon's deep i n f e c t i o n or the blast of raerchantry. V i c t o r i a , into Maquinna's salmon-yard, his berried worlds, his whale-ward reach, Cook's flowing empire whelmed momentarily; ebbing, l e f t the sea-salt pastures heavy with a new breed: hunters of mythology or money, on the g u l l - w a i l i n g shore where otters slipped and s l i d , V i c t o r i a , now your spinstermen of l o c a l h i s t o r y slipshod slippered j o i n the barbered brokers who await t h e i r coming down to j o i n Maquinna's crew. WATCHING THE WIND Watching the d i s s o l v i n g wind atta c k the sand c l i f f s and the b i t t e r n e s s of sea-flung rocks below whip grasses pluming a s e a s h e l l s l a n t of earth; watching a boy wander, eye f o l l o w i n g the stone shine timed by t i d e among the s h e l l s ; I reach along the wind to welcome him but my f e e t f e e l the s h i f t i n g h i l l , and banners of the grass are a l l that mark the d r i v e n a i r . THE SHELL W i t h i n the noon sounds proper to V i c t o r i a ' s oak bay s h o a l i n g waters d i s s i p a t e t h i s hushing t i d e washed from there from some where lo n g away: an undercurrent s t i l l sounds the deep c i t y . TRAVELLER The yellow broom explodes summer by sea: waves of echo splash the town. Summer's end spouts dry black pod-seed sputtered into the raked out dun gardens, guarded past a picket gated r i c k e t fence. The ocean'a v i o l e t doom r o l l s i n evening on the town: a muffled pounding underneath the boundaries of mind. TSAWWASSEN: "NEAR THE SEA" I The c o i l s o f t h e open o c e a n w i n d a l o n g t h e c a u s e w a y , t i d a l c u r r e n t s sway and r e s t , s u l l e n u p o n a man-made b e a c h . O n l y g u l l s n o t many w a l k t h e d r i f t w o o d p a s t t h e f e n c e b a r b e d w i r e h o l d i n g a w o r l d away. B u t g u l l s b e l o n g h e r e on t h e j u m b l e d s h o r e , o r i n a s p r a y o f w i n d , e y e i n g t h e t i d e c r u s h i n g r o c k s s h i f t i n a m o t i o n o f s e a . 12 TSAWWASSEN: "NEAR THE SEA" I I The s h o u l d e r s o f t h e open o c e a n p u s h a g a i n s t a c r u m p l e o f r o c k and d r i f t w o o d ; T h i s t h r e a t e n e d p o i n t was l e f t f o r n a t i v e d e n i z e n s ; g u l l s g l i m p s e an u n d e r b r u s h o f s h e l l s and s h e d s . I n l a n d t h e h i g h w a y now s h o o t s a r r o w - s t r a i g h t b e y o n d an I n c i d e n t a l t u r n i n g w h e r e some w r i n k l e d b y - g o n e way f u m b l e s o f f , o u t o f s i g h t , p a s t : t h e w o r l d , A r a g g e d c h u r c h , a s t i l l h a l f - u n s u b m e r g e d c a n o e . MESSAGE PROM THE SUBURBS Outside our columned cells upon a decent street, the poplars' flying pages scatter into yellow broom before our eyes can weep; (none of our brightness shafts the ai r , nor do we reaching find the roots of springs); this drone, ourselves ourselves, w i l l buzz, repeat, i t s frittered newspring leavings from a schoolish past to worry this late afternoon; perhaps there w i l l be a new p i l l a r of or something like a f i n a l flowering of a some how the clocks are counting backward to I l l OBSERVANCES 15 DECLARATION t T h r o u g h f o r e s t , w i n d , and f i r e , my l a b o u r e d e a r t h b r e a t h e s i t s b e s t b e l o w t h e i m p u l s e d f l i g h t , y e t d r i v e s i t o n , w i l l b l o c k t h e g o i n g o f a moment t h a t b l e e d s o u r p i n c h o f l i g h t o r d r a i n s t h e h e a r t h o f i n c e n s e , w i l l p u r s u e t h e f l a m e and f o r c e w i t h i n l e a f , p e b b l e , p u r p l e s h e l l . No enemy t h e h e a r t h a s b u t d e p a r t u r e , and e a r t h w i l l b r i n g s e e d s p a r k l i n g f r o m t h e s e a . NATURE STUDY T h a t b l a c k dead b r a n c h : w a t c h i t r e a c h t h i s w i n d o w . W i l l i t s t o p ? SUDDEN PASSING b l e a k m a r s h f l a t : s t r i p p e d h a r s h g r a s s j s u d d e n s u n : on w e t s o i l f l a s h e s b a c k a c r a c k l e i n t h e eye o r one b l e a c h e d f r a g m e n t s p a r k s a memory o f m i n d . I n t h i s w o r l d t h i n t r e e s , l i m b s bone b r i t t l e , s t i f f l y c r i p p l e d , s t a l k t o g e t a g r i p , ' o r p a r a l y z e i n t o q u e s t i o n s , w h i l e s t e a d i l y t h e h a l f merged f e n c e p o s t s m a r c h l i k e s y l l a b l e s a c r o s s a p r i n t e d f i e l d . SEASONAL The h o u r s h a v e d r i f t e d o f f t o woodsmoke f a l l . T a r n i s h e d l e a v e s c r i n k l e t h e a i r . The l a d y i n d r y p e p p e r t w e e d s t r u n d l e s h e r dog a l o n g t h e b o u l e v a r d . I v y c l i n g s t o c o l d s t o n e w a l l s . 19, HAWK I t h a n g s a b o v e us t h e r e , o r s t a n d s on p i n n a c l e s o f a i r ; o n l y t h e e a r t h moves u n d e r i t . I t s e y e s embrace t h e w o r l d , v i s i o n s w i n g s a c r o s s t h e a i r l i n e d p a t h s , r a y s down t o t r e e t o p s , p r o b e s t o u n d e r b r u s h and r o o t s ( t h e s p a c e b e t w e e n t h e b r a n c h e s h a s t h e m e a n i n g ) . The v i e w f r o m s p a c e h a s n o t t o do w i t h b e a u t y o r w i t h m e r c y . HILLTOP Dead u p r o o t e d c u t - d o w n b o d i e s o f t h e f o r e s t ( t h e b o y once l e a n e d u p o n ) mark t h e j a g g e d road.-edge b l a s t e d i n t o p a v e m e n t . T h i s a i r once v i b r a t e d murmurs i n t o a l l t h e s e n s e s : f l o w e r g r a s s e s e c h o e d mosses d r y i n g , b a l a n c e d on t h e s o u n d o f n o t h i n g b u t t h e s u n l i g h t . B e l o w , and j u s t b e y o n d t h e b o y ' s r e a c h o u t , t o p s o f t r e e s once t u f t e d up i n a move o f a i r p a s s e d o f f t o shadow on t h e t e x t u r e d s e a . T h r e e h o u s e s s t a n d t h e r e now, f l a t b l a n k g l a s s t o s e a w a r d , and t h e r o a d t o c a r r y q u i c k n u z z l e r s i n t h e l a t e b l a c k n i g h t , w indows c l o s e d . TO MY FATHER I n a n y f a i t h I s h o u l d n o t q u e s t i o n y o u r g o i n g u n d e r summer o r s h a r p s h i n e on s h a k e n b r a n c h e s : t h e s l i d e o f c e d a r s i n t o r u s t s t o p s a t t h e c l i f f e d g e ; t h e s u n t u r n s ; t h e y m e l t b a c k t o g r e e n ; w h i l e g u l l s l i f t a i r some l i g h t w i l l f i l t e r t h r o u g h . I r e a c h f o r t h e r e s t r a i n t o f f i s h , f l o w e r , f o r e s t , b u t am d r i v e n t o c o n s i d e r i n i m p r i n t e d n e r v e s and w a x e n h i v i n g b r a i n , o u r numbered s k i n , t h e f a l l i n g o f o u r g r a v e and s c a l e d i m a g e s . I w o n d e r : i n t h e no more n o o n , w i l l memory remember t o remember? I am w i l l i n g t o g r a s p s i n g i n g "vein o f t r e e o r b l o o d i n t h e moment o f t h e e a r t h ; and my f i n g e r s w i l l be s e e k i n g y o u r i n s t r u c t i o n , y o u r p e r s u a s i o n . SEASON'S H u m m i n g b i r d p a s s e s : f u c h s i a f l o w e r s a b o v e s t i l l n e s s d r y g r a s s e s . GULF ISLANDS T h e s e s l e e p i n g a n i m a l s , u n i d e n t i f i a b l e , s l i d e s e r p e n t s h a p e i n t h e s e w h i t e w a t e r s where we p a s s I s i t t h e y i n t e r t w i n e and c o i l t h e wake b e y o n d my f a b u l o u s and f l o a t i n g i s l a n d ? N o t one h a s o p e n e d a g r e a t jaw t o s w i r l us down and d i s a p p e a r u s — s o f a r . REMINDERS T h e s e t w i g s t h a t grow l e a f l e s s on w i n t e r t r e e s p e c u l i a r l y s u r r o u n d i n g us u n d e r t h e c l o u d a r e d o u b t f u l s i l h o u e t t e s a g a i n s o u r adam manned I m a g i n i n g , 25 IV EXPLORING CREDO Come t o t h e edge o f t h e u n c o m f o r t a b l e s e a I , s t i l l , d i d n o t , y e t , b e l i e v e ; b u t t h e s t o n e - n e i g h b o u r h o o d e d s e a became n o t c o l d t h e u n d u l a t i n g g r e e n w o r l d w a v e r e d a r o u n d my more r e a l t h a n e a r t h , and t h e s h o r e r e s i s t e d a l l my t r i a l s . EXPLORATION I n a s h e l l o f s k i n n e r v e s f i n g e r o u t s t r a n g e c o n t o u r s , t h e i n s i d e o f t h e mask. I n t h i s unknown and k n o w i n g c o u n t r y o f c o n c e a l m e n t , y e a r s p a s s t o w a r d n o t h i n g l e f t ; y e t s l o w l y t h e r o o t s o f t r e e s , s l o w l y t h e s m e l l o f p e t a l s o f r o s e s , s l o w l y t h e c o l o u r s o f m o r n i n g a i r c r e e p t h r o u g h c r e v i c e s , s l i d e t h r o u g h f a u l t s and f i s s u r e s , f r o m t h e i r own s h e l l e d w o r l d i n t o s o m e t h i n g e l And down t h e b o n e , a l o n g t h e m u s c l e d b l o o d , I s e e t h e f a r w o r l d l e a v i n g i t s p r i n t on t h e b r a i n . THE PLACING I s e e k e x a c t l o c a t i o n ; now t h a t m a t h e m a t i c s moves on c o n s t a n t l y c o - o r d i n a t e s a r e o n l y on t h e o l d o l d m a p p i n g s I n t e r s e c t t h e bone and m u s c l e ; w h e r e t h e r i v e r s o f t h e h e a r t r u n o u t I h e a r a p u r p l e e a g l e and a s e r p e n t c r y ; b u t l e a v e t h e m b r a i n does n o t b e l o n g i n t h i s l o c a t i o n . S a y p e r h a p s t h e y w i l l a d o r n t h e b o r d e r s . ( B u t s t i l l , w h a t h o l d s i t a l l t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e a r t e r i e s i n c i r c l e and t h e n e r v e s i n p a r a l l e l ? ) I ' l l g i v e up f o r now t h e s h o r t s h a r p s t r u g g l e l e a v e t h e b r a i n an i n c o g n i t a l a n d , and r i d e t h e w h a l e s and s e r p e n t e a g l e s o f f t h e e d g e s , p a s t t h e c o r n e r s o f t h e w i n d . JOURNEY T e n t h A v e . i s s o w e l l l i g h t e d now you c a n l o o k up b u t n o t s e e a n y s t a r l i g h t , a n y t i m e f a r t h e r o u t i t ' s d a r k e r , s o you s e e more ( c l o u d s , b u t o n l y p e r h a p s ) . T o d a y i n t h e p a l e w i n t e r l a c k - l i g h t I am p a s t t h e p h i l o s o p h e r s i n t h e i r c hambered f a c u l t i e s , b u t n e a r e r t h e s e a , and w o n d e r i f t h a t t r e e l e a n s o r t h e e a r t h t i l t s . TOTEMS A s u r r o u n d o f t h u n d e r f o l l o w s t h e b r o o d i n g b e a k , r e a d y , p o i s e d , s o l i d . U n s e e n , u n d e r t h e moss, a r e c u r v i n g f i n g e r s t h a t once s u r g e d on c e d a r i n t h e l o n g r a i n wound i n t h e m i s t s w h e r e t h e c a r v e d t r e e s now grow and v a n i s h (no shadow h a n d s c a n h e l p t h e m a n y more, no h a n d s t o h e a r t h e f o r e s t ) . T o d a y o u r t o t e m s move and s h a p e us t o t h e l i s t e n i n g c i r c u i t r y . DERRICK I A g i a n t i n s e c t p e r c h e d and p i c k i n g c l e a n t h e g i r d e r e d s k e l e t o n ; o n l y t h e s l o w s w i n g o f t h e s t r e t c h e d n e c k s i n e w e d t e l l s o f t h e d i r e c t i n g c e l l t h e m i c r o b r a i n ; downward i n t o downward e y e s p r o b e h o o k e d t o n g u e h u n t s down some l a s t m a t t e r . DERRICK II S t i l l : at day 1s end l i n e s and angles on a f l a t blank sky. UNIVERSITY H y b r i d i z e d t e b u s t l e d m i n i - c h r o m e c l a c k e t i n g o u t i t s mod s e r e n i t y ; d e i f i e d b y d i r t o f c o u r s e and p l a s t e r t a i n t s , a n c e s t r u o u s i n v o l u t e d i m a g e s o f a c t i o m ; i t s t h e o r y - c o a t e d s t r o l l e r s p a n d e r down t h e m e n t a l mossways i n t h e muddle o f t h e VIEW OP THE C I T Y I n t h e b o x o f p a r a d i s e , o r l i q u i d i t y o f h e r e , m o t i o n b r i n g s c o l d m o u r n i n g : I h a v e f e l t t h e s i z e o f h e a v e n and d i m e n s i o n s and d i m e n s i o n s o f a h e l l ; my f i r s t t h r u s t u p w a r d , m o u n t a i n s p e n e t r a t e a t h i c k e n e d a t m o s p h e r e , s w e l l i n c r e a s e d masses t o t h e t u m u l u s o f t i m e . (Once e e l s s l i d t h e i r ways t h r o u g h m a r s h and o o z e , m o u n t a i n s t r e m b l e d i n t h e i r r o o t s , s k e l e t a l b i r d s b e a t t h e a i r , m o i s t and p u l s a t i n g i n t h e h o t g r e e n n e i g h b o u r h o o d , b e f o r e t h e o l d man's d r e a m i n g e n e r g y s p e n t i t s e l f u p o n a dream o f h o u r s . ) The m o u n t a i n s s t a r e : I f o l l o w l i g h t s t r i c k l i n g f r o m some s p r i n k l e b a c k i n t h e s t a r r e d h i l l s , and t h e l a s t s l i d e o f s u n l i g h t down t h e s l o w s i d e s o f m o u n t a i n , snowed and f l o a t i n g , wave and w a v e , b o t h e d g e d and r i d g e d . 35 TOUR OP THE C I T Y My c i r c l e d e y e r e s i s t s t h e s t r a t o s p h e r e , e n v i s a g e s i t s e l f b e y o n d t o i n w a r d . Where a r e t h e summer d a n c e r s f r o m t h e c r i p p l e d p a s t ? The l a s t g e o g r a p h e r s and m u s i c men d e p a r t ; we l u r e o u r s e l v e s down e c h o e d a l l e y s ; ( t h e c o r n u c o p i a s t r e e t s a r e d i s a p p e a r e d ) and b l a n k b a c k w i n d o w s ' s t a r e t h e o n l y a n s w e r b e c k o n i n g a t a l l . A c a n d l e b u r n s i n s p a c e , m e l t s and consumes i n t o y o u r b o d y . My f l a m e d i v i d e s t h e s k y ; I t o o t h r u s t e a r t h y welcome i n t o t h e s t a r s and l i g h t b e y o n d t h e s e e i n g and s e n s a t i o n ; c i r c l e w i t h me i n t h e c o l d s p a r k — r e f l e c t i v e d r o p s on m o o n l i t w i n t e r t r e e s . MOTH Out t h e r e no f o l l o w e r , no f i r e t o warm o r c r a c k l e up t h e h e a r t o r f l u t t e r e d w i n g s ; o u t t h e r e a n x i o u s I s w e r v e d t h r o u g h w e a v i n g a i r , s o m e t h i n g and d e s p a i r , s m a l l f l a m e b r u s h e d my w i n g s and h e l d me h a l f w a y b e t w e e n , and m o v i n g , t h e r e now my c i r c l e i n t e r s e c t s i t s e l f , my h e l i o t r o p i c s e n s e s a l l compound t o m a g n i f y a p i n c h o f l i g h t . PRODUCT OP b l o n d e g i r l g e n u i n e r a i n w e t h a l o e d h a i r ; y o u r o x f o r d a c c e n t c e r e m o n i a l l y l o o k s f o r t e a c e r e m o n y s e t s ( I l o o k f o r y o u ) b u t n o t w i t h p l a s t i c i m i t a t i o n w i c k e r h a n d l e s V a n c o u v e r g i r l y o u want t h e r e a l t h i n g i n t h e G i n z a Shop on R o b s o n S t r a s s e B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a n e a r F a l s e C r e e k . ACADEMIC T h e r e i s some r i s k t r a v e l l i n g t h e s e d a y s : t h r o w i t b a c k i n t o m y t h o l o g y and s a y i f we r o d e b a r e b a c k p e g a s u s ( b u t b r i d l e d ) , t h o s e h e r o h e a d l i n e s m i g h t h a v e drawn o u r s e l v e s i n t o t h e s h a p e o f r e i g n i n g h u n t e r s o r : n a t u r a l h i s t o r y comes t o o u r a s s i s t a n c e ( t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n s a c r e d o ak and i v y and p o i s o n o ak and i v y i s c h i e f l y i n o u r r e a c t i o n t o i t c h ; a nd p o i s o n o ak d i f f e r s b u t b y s y l l a b l e f r o m p o i s o n g a s ) . And I n P a c t , add two s y m b o l s t o p o i s o n : o b v i o u s l y y o u g e t a new p o s i t i o n a l l y o u c a n u s e i s t h e s c i e n c e o f l i n g u i s t i c s . I have seen bodies f a l l l i k e c a t s , l i k e dogs, from s k i e s w i t h no cloud; b r i g h t n e s s does now f a l l i n deed from a i r ; the winged horse s t r u g g l e s f o r breath, so I s h a l l s tay w i t h i n the s a f e r f a c u l t i e s , and keep my leaves i n order on the s h e l f . LAMENTS CELLO CONCERT MAYBE N e r v e s o f p a i n w i n d t i g h t t o h o l d t h i s c i t y t o a c e n t r e — n o t b u r s t , b l a s t , and f l y zap a p a r t o r d r i b b l e o f f a t t h e e d g e s . W o u l d y o u m e l t i n a c l o u d ? The t r a c k s o f t r a i n s t o r n , up o r down t h e n a i l s h e l d ; t h e p l a y e r ' s f i n g e r s t w i t c h u s e l e s s l y , f e e t c r o s s e d , t h i g h s s t r a i n . I c a n s e l l p a i n o r b u y , c a n g i v e , c a n g i v e , w h i l e b u s s e s r u m b l e s m o o t h l y on a c r o s s t h e r e d r a i l s o f t h e bone and b l o o d o r l o o k f o r f l o w e r s i n t h e r e e l i n g n i g h t : t o s a y t h a t p a i n must s t o p ( l i k e t h a t ) i t w o u l d be c r u e l l e r t h a n p a i n . I n c e n s e d a i r f r o m d i s t a n c e t h r e a d s my a c r i d s e l f a r o u n d i t ; ( r e l i g i o u s smoke as w e l l c a n s u r e l y p e n e t r a t e t h e membraned s k e l e t o n ) . B u t make i t c l o s e — o n l y c l o s e c a n — s h a r p , h a r s h , t h e t w i s t o f word s e a r s i n t o s i g h t . L e t me p e e l b a c k t h e c h e m i s t r y o f c l o t h i n g , ( t h e s h a p e s o f n e r v e s a r e p l a i n ) , and o n t h e t e n s i o n o f a p i t c h e d s t r i n g t h r u s my m u s c l e d b r a i n i n t o c o n t o r t i o n ' s c a l m . P.0STWAR S.IGHTSEEING Leaves surround the f i e l d now: the burnt past whispers; b i r d s hang i n the a i r , d r i f t of dead wind. R e s t l e s s , we h e s i t a t e , observe s t i l l peace, i n the caked a a r t h ; s t i f f wry branches beckon even us to l i e together i n the c r a t e r * s pocket. EASTER X marks t h i s y e a r l y p l a c e ; we come h e r e r e g u l a r as c l o c k s t o p ; i t seems t o be a l i v e o n e , t h o u g h p e r h a p s some s e e d i e r ; t h e c l i e n t e l e someone has t a t t e r e d r o u n d t h e e d g e s ; o u r p a t h s d i d c r o s s b e f o r e o f c o u r s e , and now i t ' s h a r d t o t e l l w h i c h is» I n a n y one c a s e i t must be t i m e i n d e e d t o s e e t h a t j e s u s added d e a t h t o s p r i n g ; s o s h e l l e d i n e a c h h o u r ' s c r o w d e d m e t a p h o r we w a i t i n s u n on t h i s b r i g h t b r i t t l e d a y . 45 RESURRECTION T h i s c r a g o f a s i c k man f u m b l e s h i s c r e a k i n g c o r n e r , i s no more n o t a b l e , h i s t a t t e r s h a n g a t e v e r y c r o s s i n g . A b r o k e n g l a s s o f h o u s e b e l i e v e s no t e a r s b u t c o l l a p s e d r e f l e c t i o n o f u n r e a l t i m e d e y e s , l o v e ' s memory i n t h e sweep o f e m p t i e d s u n . And s h o u l d t h e r e be f e v e r o f f l e s h he w o u l d be o n l y b o l d e n o u g h t o s t a y c o r n e r e d i n t h e s e p u l c h r e s u n . i i6 TWENTIETH CENTURY: A P.R. PROBLEM The b r a i n m i g h t g a g on b o d i e s ; a c o m p u t e r f i n g e r i n g s t a t i s t i c s u n t i l n e r v e s r u n o u t . C a n c e l t h e a i r l e s t b r e a t h r e l e a s e some c u r s e f r o m t h e u n b o r n , u n t h o u g h t o f , d e a d ; l a m e n t i s o n l y f o r t h e w i l l i n g p r o p e r l y , b u t e v e n some o f t h e m s u s p e c t t h a t i n c a n t a t i o n l i e s . The s m a l l o nes c o u l d most d a n g e r o u s l y be a n e e d l e i n t h e b r a i n s h o r t i n g o u t t h e n e c e s s a r y c u r r e n t . HAVE TIME Have t i m e . What u s e i s now t o u s ? A l l l e f t i s p e r s o n a l and s h o r t . We h a v e s e e n n o t h i n g s t i r b e y o n d a s h o u t a l l t h e g r e a t n i g h t w h i l e i n t h e l i b r a r y we l o o k e d a l o n g t h e l a d d e r e d y e a r s o f a n c e s t o r s . The f a d e d d e a r s c a l l e d , e c h o e d down t h e l o n g a i r , w here t h e l o v e - r o u g h e d f i n g e r s w e r e c a r e s s i n g a c o l d moon, a t h o u g h t a g o . B u t e a r s a r e d e a f now; on t h e v a c a n t m a r g i n o f a h i s t o r y we d a r e n o t u s e o u r d r a w n - b l i n d e y e s b a l a n c i n g l i k e c a r e w o r n c o t t a g e w indows on t h e edge o f s p a c e — w h e r e g a l a x i e s h a v e w h i n e d and s h o t b l i n d g o d s w i t h f e a r . 48 LETTER BACK Lost to t i m e ^ reach we d i d blend our bones w i t h ( l o s e r ) Mercury; unseen beyond the f l a s h p o i n t we saw h i s t o r y rack out i t s unknown ages i n the dark; when f i r e f i n g e r e d crooked i n the eyes our b l i n d nerves r a i s e d the heart stone a l t a r s , s i f t e d ashes a i m l e s s l y from t w i s t i n g rock, above the unhinged graves. We have found at l a s t bare bones of a l e s s o n legend t o r n from schoolbooks. 49 AMULETS The b i g g e r d r o p s b o u n c e , a t l e a s t v i s i b l y , t o somewhere e l s e : i n t o t h e C o f f e e G a r d e n r e b o u n d s a T y r o l e a n h a t , p l a s t i - p r o t e c t e d , i t s man w i s e i n a f a s h i o n w i t h f u z z y f e a t h e r , i t s u m b r e l l a and i n s u r a n c e j o u r n a l ; s u r e l y he w i l l n o t s u f f e r f r o m t h e r a i n d r o p ' s weapon? CONVIVIAL GOTHIC A c r o s s t h e t e a c u p s , s h i e l d e d b y a l i n e o f t a b l e , f a c e s , a n e n a m e l l e d s t a r e o f l i n e n b l a n k as g u e s t t o w e l s , g l a z e a m a n u f a c t e r e d g a t h e r i n g t h e u n r e l e n t i n g o r d i n a r y t h i n g THEATRE, CAPE, OR SOMEWHERE Smoke r i s e s f r o m v o t i v e g l o w s ; b l o o d - s h a p e n e d p o i n t s w r i t e l a u g h l e s s l y on w a l l s o f a i r ; c u b e s r a t t l e i n t h e c u p ; m o t l e y d a n c e r s i n t h e t h r o a t mock t i m e ' s s t r e t c h e d a r m s , and i g n o r e t h e c r o w n e d i t a l i c s i n t h e a i r . P I C N I C AT PASSCHENDAELE T e a r i n g a p a r t t h e c o l d c h i c k e n t h o u g h t f u l l y p r o v i d e d b y o u r h o s t s , who welcome t o u r i s t s a t a r e a s o n a b l e r a t e we consume l o c a l h i s t o r y f r o m t h e p a p e r p l a t e s e n g r a v e d w i t h SOUVENIR, s o l d on a p p r o p r i a t e o c c a s i o n s , and we r e a d t h e r e a r e no c a r n i v o r e s r e m a i n i n g i n t h a t d i s t r i c t . MEMO: RE THEOLOGICAL DISPUTATION As f o r me, s e n d t h i s : s e n s i b l e o f f o l l i e s , and b e r e f t o f p l a t i t u d e and dogma once I p r i z e d , ( C h r i s t - l i f e s 1) l e t l o v e f a l l f a s t l i k e l i g h t , b e f o r e e x p l o d i n g n i g h t h a s p a s s e d t h e h o u r s o f h u m a n k i n d w i d e VI POETICS Y o u r t h i g h s , my l o v e , a r e m e t a p h o r o f s t r i p p e d a r b u t u s f l e s h -t i n g e d , and r e p e a t i n g c u r v e s as g i r l s i n g r o w i n g c u r v e and weave a b o u t t h e g r o w i n g , and a i r m o v i n g r e s o u n d s t h r o u g h t h e i r own and man's m i n d . I n among t h e f i r m and s i l k e n c u r v e s t h e r e ' s s o m e t h i n g d e a d and b r i t t l e - s h a r p . :EVENT Once when I f e l t t h e g r e e n and r e a c h i n g w o r l d w i t h i n y o u r e y e s , Y o u b u r n e d ray c o v e r l e t o f w o r d s away: Y o u n g and a f r a i d , I drew my s l e e p a r o u n d me. 57 ROCK AND MUMBLE Do t w e n t y c a c o p h o n i c c e n t u r i e s l e a d t o t h i s m a d s c r a p s c r a m b l e i n t o some s u c c i n c t s a l v a t i o n i n r a g - t a g - t i m e d i r g e s ? We b r i n g t o a n e m a s c u l a t e d l i f e t h e b i l l e d b o r e d symphony o f s e l l i n g c o r r u g a t i o n ' s w a l k o f a n y a g e s , w i t h o f c o u r s e p a r a p h e r n a l i a g l o b a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t : i t g i v e s s a l v a t i o n s y n c o p o t e n c y . POLARITY A f a n t a s y o f y o u r s h a p e i n a c l o u d , f l a s h e d i n s i l v e r i n t h e s p l i t , c h a r g e d a i r , l a s t s b u t f o r t h e l o v e t h e w i n d t a k e s t o d i s c h a r t h e p a s s i o n o f my own i m a g i n a t i o n . B u t now what l i g h t n i n g r o d c a n d r a i n away t h e u r g e n c y o f e a r t h ? — o u r i s o m e r i c b o d i e s c h a r g e t h e m s e l v e s . LOCAL GEOGRAPHY On s n o w - s p e n t n i g h t s h e r e r i v e r ' s o c e a n meets my s p r i n g o f s t a r s t h a t y e l l s and s p o u t s f r o m t h e m o i s t i n l e t t o t h e f a r t h e s t p r o b i n g u r g e o f m o u n t a i n . Up t h e i n w a r d p r e c i p i c e o f n i g h t , y o u r r o u n d s and r i v u l e t s , t h e f o r e s t d a r k n e s s e s a r e s p r a y e d w i t h h o t s p a r k s f r o m t h e m i l k y way t h a t s h i v e r s i n t h e s e a . ON THE D I F F I C U L T I E S OF COMPOSING VERSE OR ACTRESS RELAXING I N A NIGHT SPOT L o c k e d b a c k o f t h e b l a c k - e n c i r c l e d e y e s w o r d s w i n d , r e v e r b e r a t e f r o m w a l l s , c l u s t e r t o g a t h e r i n t o — t w i s t t o — s l i p s h o d s t r a i n e d a t t e m p t t o l i b e r a t e s e l f , o r b y l u r i d m e t a p h o r l e a p o v e r , o r b y s t r a i g h t s h a r p s t a b a t t a c k o r b y h e a v e n l i e down t o g e t h e r . 61 APPOINTMENT I t i s a l m o s t b e t t e r y o u a r e n o t w h e r e I am; on t h e c r e s t o f t h e f l o w i n g s t r e e t a s p l a s h o f c a r s r u s h e s away t h e s h a p e s o f o t h e r s , b u t no o t h e r f i l l s t h e s p a c e b e s i d e my b o d y . I s o l a t e d b y my own r e p e a t e d b a t t e r i n g , a n g r y a t m o s p h e r e and b e a t i n g s e l f , I no l o n g e r n e e d a w a i t what happens t o me n e a r o r f a r , I w i l l n o t now s a y t h e o l d t h i n g s u n l e s s t h e y a r e n e w l y t r u e f o r now. CONVERSE T u l i p s u n f o l d s l o w l y i n t h e e a r l y l i g h t , f r o m b u d d i n g t o t h e c u r v i n g h a n d s , t h e n t o mouths o m i n o u s b u t more; d a r k g e n t l e f l a m e s b l o o m a t n i g h t . MOUNTAIN P r o m t h e m o u n t a i n , t i g e r c a r r i e s h i s i l l u s i o n a r y v i s o n a r y b l a c k and y e l l o w t a i l and b e l l y , s e n s e s t i g h t e n e d , ( s l i p p i n g t a l l g r a s s e s , s l i d i n g b e t w e e n b amboo), s h a d e s h i s own t r a c k down, h e a d s w i n g i n g t o t h e v a l l e y s n a r l s and t h e i n t e r m i t t e n t b r i g h t n e s s . 6LL MUTE My b l i s t e r e d mouth: an i c a r u s of tongue and l i p s or f i s h drowned i n i t s b o i l i n g sea. V I I BEGINNING C r a b w i s e , t h e t i d e s i d l e s b a c k f r o m t h e b e a c h b e s i d e me a s h e l l s h i f t s ; p e b b l e d c a p i l l a r i e s c o l l a p s e ; o t h e r l a g g a r d s c u t t l e r s , c a u g h t i n t h e k i l l i n g a i r b e s i d e me c r o u c h r o b e d i n s e a w e e d ; I h e a r a t i c k and s l i g h t c r a c k l e ; i n e x o r a b l y a g r e e n w o r l d s h r i v e l s . 

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