Marrying the Animals.
Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Pender Harbour, B.C. Spent the first
evening on the dock listening
to geese honk their rubber bicycle horns
over the marina. Those stick-to-the-point
flights over Ontario, seriously Canadian
as blanched carrots in the freezer.
And wildflowers! Splitting
out of rock, their little hooks into air.
It was spring. I was in love
and needed a place to have my baby.
Circled the map with a pin and pierced
Pender Harbour. Barely accessible
boats calling just often enough.
Anyway, with mother's hysterics and war
there was no room in Ottawa to bursting
with either child or happiness. Plus: his wife.
Night won't settle. Hills smudge
with coal from earlier fires, and light shimmies
the water as if the artist's unhappy
with too thick a night. So there's none.
untitled poem from page 32Cornelia Hoogland was born in B.C. not long after her family emigrated from Holland. She now lives in Ontario and has taught English Children's Literature and Drama. She has written stories and stage dramas for children. This is her second volume of poetry.
Her poetry shows great expression, love of life and extensive vocabulary. She uses unusual words and structures to provide a realistic view of poetry. The selection offers an overview of life as she traces the poet and the woman in her struggle to find meaning. The poems are divided into sections; the first being "Root and Furrow", followed by "In the Meantime: Elizabeth Smart Poems" with two sub-sections, "Each Bird Walking" and "Girl Who Went Forth".
The quotation which concludes the volume is credited to the Carrier Indians from B.C. "The white man writes everything down in a book so that it will not be forgotten; but our ancestors married the animals, learned all their ways, and passed on the knowledge from one generation to another." I enjoyed the poems in this collection. I found that many touchstones to other lives and other people could be remembered through her poetry. Often, I had to reread the poems and think about her word choice. This is a volume that I will return to and share with other women. It contains poetry to be shared and discussed with new chapters opening with each reading.
Deborah Mervold is a teacher librarian in a grade 6 to 12 school, and a Grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School.
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