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20 September, 2006

1,160



This is the very first poem I ever wrote, and my first published poem. It appeared in the poetry section of the Newfoundland Herald, a tv guide, where my father submitted it. It was 1979, and I was living in my grandmother's house in southern New Brunswick with my mother and sister because my parents had separated.

I clearly remember the decision to write this poem. I remember the import of that moment, not just in retrospect, but as it was happening. It was a very deliberate and conscious act, as if until that moment, poetry was just one of an infinite number of possibilities swirling formlessly around me until I called it out of the void. I remember being very quiet and focused and excited. I knew three things. One, I was going to write a poem. Two, my poem would not be a rhyming poem. Three, it was going to please my father, a poet.

I'm not sure why I chose artist Gerry Squires as the subject of my first composition, or why that particular image of the lighthouse he used to keep on the Ferryland Downs, where we visited and where I played with his daughters years before. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing or alchemy. Maybe I was unconsciously drawing down some of the qualities in Gerry, as a person and as an artist, that I would later come to identify with.

Gerry is a painter and sculptor in whom spirituality and mysticism seem to co-habitate very naturally with his art. He is not religious himself, but I think of him as belonging to the tribe of priests. That archetype is very strong in him. It is in me and my father too, but Dad's was a house divided against itself. Both men grew up in very fundamentalist expressions of Christianity, but Gerry's must have been filtered through a softer lens, or he is by nature more elastic. He gets the connective-- relagare--aspect of religion; the relating between heaven and earth. Somewhere along the line that ligament had been torn in my father.

Or maybe I analyze too much. Maybe it was simply a nine-year old's nostalgia and longing for a sleep where the grown ups kept watch and the ship sailed on through the night unwrecked.

Who knows where any of the poems come from.

It is Wednesday, and I have a vast, glorious, expanse of uninterrupted time in which to write, and a nearly full pot of coffee.

I have so much more I want to say about that first poem, and about the tangling and untangling of my poetry with my father's life, "through dooms of love." And about spirit and art. And about the manuscript I am gestating.

But I have 1,159 more days, so some of it can wait.

9 Comments:

Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:49 PM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

i am in constant awe of you. it is as if i sometimes don't really know you ...........
what a wonderful piece . i love your new blog and i love you
mom

3:53 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I'm enjoying reading about your journey through your 39th year - and I love that your mom has left a comment! (I'm enjoying her blog, too!)

5:27 PM  
Blogger K. said...

Thank you both...I appreciate the feedback. Keep coming back!

Mom, you are my biggest fan, just like a mom is supposed to be.

:)

5:57 PM  
Blogger littlepurplecow said...

You seem to paint with words. And I like that you are looking back before you move forward.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Kel said...

from one K to another
you have a way with words that will entice me back here often and easily

pleased to meet you

5:13 AM  
Blogger K. said...

I love you all. Nobody leaves this blog until my book is published. Comps to the first 11 commenters.

:)

k.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

When that book comes out, I'll send my address :)

1:17 PM  
Anonymous SBird said...

He gets the connective-- relagare--aspect of religion; the relating between heaven and earth.

I like this observation. I think poets are meant to be stuck in that in-between space. It's the thin place, no?

6:33 PM  

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