Surprised By Joy by Penn Kemp

Poem title: Surprised By Joy Poet: Penn Kemp Poem: Blessed be here. Blessed be clever cardinals who vary their song into language only other cardinals interpret. Blessed be red squirrels who scold all intruders into silence below. Blessed be hostas and fern, the mix of wild with cultivated. Blessed be the cultivated soil that allows for splendid fluorescence. Blessed be the breakers upon the shoal. Blessed be hushed wing of crow and after landing on spruce branch, a raucous caw. Blessed be the interchange of story, space to be alone together. Blessed be the quiet. Blessed be haecceity, an expanse of time. Blessed be completion. Blessed be night that covers the cottage in a moiré spread and seeps into warm dreams of possibility. Blessed be old bare black cherry, dead in winter’s past blast but ready to turn now into fire’s best wood, slow-burning, hot. Blessed be the poets whose refrains run through their still too busy brain, still listening, till dawn chorus bursts into joy. And celebration of the daily begins again in jubilation, in improbable hope, arising. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Penn Kemp Previously published in River Revery (Insomniac Press, 2019) Penn Kemp has participated in Canadian cultural life for more than 50 years, writing, editing, and publishing poetry, fiction and plays. Poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp has been celebrated as a trailblazer since her first publication of poetry (Coach House (1972), a “poetic El Niño”, and a “one-woman literary industry”. Chosen as the League of Canadian Poetry’s Spoken Word Artist (2015), a Foremother of Canadian Poetry, and Life Member, Kemp has long been a keen participant/activist in Canada’s cultural life. She’s published 30 books of poetry, prose and drama, 7 plays and 10 CDs, and award-winning videopoems. Her Sound Operas have been performed across Canada. Writer-in-residence in Canada, India, and Brazil, she edited many poetry anthologies, including IS 14 for women writers (Coach House, 1973) and several for the Feminist Caucus. Recently, with Richard-Yves Sitoski, Penn co-edited POEMS IN RESPONSE TO PERIL, an anthology of 48 Canadian poets for Ukraine: P.S., her latest collection, collaborates with Sharon Thesen (GapRiot Press). For service to the arts community, she received both Diamond and Platinum Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee medals and was on London North Centre’s first Honour Roll. New work from Rose Garden Press is forthcoming, 2023. Updates:,