Songs of an anxious mind

No doubt about it, I’m having trouble doing my work. Trouble getting things done. Trouble sleeping. Trouble waking. How my eyes ache. And my joints. My heart feels funny. It is as if neither my eyes nor my brain can focus–as if the frame glitches and slips just a little, the visible world doubling at the edges. Continue reading Songs of an anxious mind

Bodies in Pain–on hurting and being hurt

Like so many since the Nova Scotia massacre in mid April, I have been having nightmares, and am often awake during the night. This terrible event has awakened all the old traumas…When I do finally sleep, waking each morning is like crashing into a low wall. I am editing a poem I had begun to draft before the massacre called Elimination Round about big game hunting in Mexico and its relationships to tourism and other forms of collecting, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of missing and murdered in Mexico these last few years, and I can hardly face it. The spent metal casings of .223 rounds are a debris field scattered behind and before us, the horror of so many lives lost and hearts broken a scorching flare turning the hours to ash. Continue reading Bodies in Pain–on hurting and being hurt

A valediction forbidding mourning (a more or less true history of the present)

Over the course of the last week everything has changed radically. In the northern hemisphere winter has officially become spring. We’ve shifted from an eerie quiet, as if collectively in Canada we were kneeling, our ears pressed to the tracks of time listening for the train of the future to come barrelling upon us, to something still more unearthly. Early closures, slow stunned walks in the sun and recommendations about how we ought to behave have become, over the course of several days, a state of emergency and civilian lockdown. Continue reading A valediction forbidding mourning (a more or less true history of the present)

The Silence of the Songbirds

How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds

“All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance

These are the things I want to remember this Remembrance Day: everything that is alive that impresses itself on my senses, not the celebratory stories of European wars and muscular bravery, the pomp and pride that says “Look what we did; this land is our land; war is sacrifice is glory.” What terrible stewards and guests we colonials have been and go on being; even when we think we’re at peace we wage war on other beings, wrecking and murdering, fissuring the earth and all of its resources in the name of conquest, ownership, profit and, ironically, “survival”–a survival that is ever more clearly on its way to choking us all. Our noisy honking drowns out the very voices to which we need to listen. Truly I do not want to study war anymore, neither on this day nor any other; its racket, its glorious tales of the seizure of territories, is not where we most need to hone what Toni Morrison, in Beloved, called our “rememories,” or remembrance of memories right now. Continue reading “All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance

Behind it all/ Songs from rural zones #LIV

Morning arrives cloud-dark and humid. Low tide. Wind in the trees and a flow of birdsong. A great blue heron flies off when I step outdoors, cracking loudly. Cicadas. The buzzing of insects. A kingfisher ratchets by, sounding an alarm. Blue scent of air, as if soon it will rain. Finches in the trees. The air sweet, odour of cut grass and salt air, a … Continue reading Behind it all/ Songs from rural zones #LIV

14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place

In this strange and fecund season here at the edge of the sea, I am thinking a great deal about climate change, for its signs seem acutely evident now, all around us. We appear to be witnessing major shifts or collapses in sea bird populations. Species of fish and shellfish we’ve not seen before show up here and there, and morning and night we mark the heights and declines of the tides–they are more extreme; likewise, storms when they come carry away larger and larger chunks of various shorelines. In such a space, what, for every living thing, might be reasons for hope, for looking to a future? And what might any living thing hope for (or against)? Continue reading 14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place