#NPM18 | FRESH VOICES: NORMA KERBY, MARTHA SWINN, A. GARNETT WEISS

 

Welcome to the tenth edition of Fresh Voices, a project from and for the League’s associate members. The League’s associate members are talented poets who are writing and publishing poetry on their way to becoming established professional poets in the Canadian literary community. We are excited to be taking this opportunity to showcase the work of our associate members in this series!

 

when you planted bulbs

by Norma Kerby

 

when you planted bulbs

gnarled fingers digging deeply into wet earth

you forgot

you might not live

forever

 

of course

she came

she was angry

chastising you like a naughty child

you smiled and said

don’t worry dear

your limp body half asleep in the chair

 

it wasn’t that you could not hear her

or that she was wrong

so often now she is                 correct

 

but

you did not tell her

where you found those bulbs or

why you slipped into rain

to bury them beneath winter’s reach

 

one more spring

one more glow of daffodils

forgotten secrets

rising from the ground

 

when she came

when she saw your dirty fingernails

when she threw your soaking slippers down the stairs

she was a squirrel scolding crows

 

yes dear you said

 

Norma Kerby is a poet and writer based in Terrace in Northwestern British Columbia. Her writing reflects her active participation in environmental issues and preservation of history in this region. She has had poetry published in several literary journals (including Prism International, Room, Dreamland and filling Station). Norma is currently the Northern Area Representative for the Federation of BC Writers, and organizes, publicizes, and presents readings, writing events, and writing workshops throughout northern British Columbia.

 

 

The Bone Man

by Martha Swinn

 

I handle death

with slender fingers

skin touches bone

brushes away lichen and moss

cleans the dull patina of rot

away.

The pain is not filtered

through cotton or latex.

death touches me

each time I handle the bones.

My mind wanders

along the beach where

my father walks

with my dogs.

We travel silently for a time

in the mist until we reach the creek,

the flowing divide, where I cannot go.

 

They continue on to Granddad’s Point;

I stay

and handle the bones.

 

Martha Swinn is a poet, artist and teacher currently residing in the Nass Valley, north of Terrace, BC. An English Literature graduate from Laurentian University, Martha has also participated in writing mentorship programs through Humber University and the University of British Columbia. A life-long interest in mythology and her experiences growing up on the shores of Lake Superior as well as teaching in a Northern Ontario goldmine town have accompanied her into the Lava Beds of North Western BC and continue to define her relationship with the rainforest and the Nisga’a Nation.

 


Where, watching life through windows 

by A. Garnett Weiss

 

There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses

in a room with a stuffed fox and a stale fern.

 

The birdless branches in the wind,

the white isolation of local stone-bound graves

of lovers in a country paradise

take shape in silence, grow as the clouds grew.

 

A quarrel of weathers and trees in the windy spiral,

a tin flash in the sun-dazzle

fracture the fringes of our winter sun.

 

The spring and rawness tantalize the air,

and something twangs and breaks at the end of the street.

 

Who knows if the sound was that of the dead light calling,

far from rivers, capes, and stars of words.

 

 

                                               

                                                Cento gloss: Where, watching life through windows

                                                Title: George Barker, “Elegy 1”

                                                Line 1: Louis MacNeice, “Snow”

                                                Line 2: Dylan Thomas, “From the oracular archives”

                                                Line 3: David Gascoyne, “Winter garden”

                                                Line 4: Ronald Bottrall, “A grave revisited”

                                                Line 5: Edith Sitwell, “Romance”

                                                Line 6: Cecil Day Lewis, “Do not expect again”

                                                Line 7: Dylan Thomas, “I, in my intricate image”

                                                Line 8: Ezra Pound, “Cantos”

                                                Line 9: Ronald Bottrall, “Genesis”

                                                Line 10: William Epsom, “China”

                                                Line 11: Louis MacNeice, “Debacle”

                                                Line 12: Edith Sitwell, “Street song”

                                Line 13: Stephen Spender, “an elementary school class                                                   room in a slum”

 

                                (Published in Oratorealis, summer 2017)

 

 

A. Garnett Weiss’ found poetry and centos took top honours in The Bannister’s 2016 and 2013 anthologies. She is the only Canadian in Silver Birch Press’s 2015 chapbook anthology, Ides.

 

Curated by Lesley Strutt and Blaine Marchand, these poems represent just a small portion of the great work being produced by our members, and we are excited to have this opportunity to share their poetry with you. If you are interested in contributing to Fresh Voices, please send 3-5 poems to lesley@lesleystrutt.ca. You may submit only once per month, but you may submit every month until your poetry is selected. This opportunity is open only to associate members of the League–if you are interested in joining the League, please visit our membership page!