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I was thrilled to be able to join the on-line Art Bar Poetry Reading Series on November 2nd, 2021.  I taped a twenty-five minute video! The Art Bar Reading Series is based in Toronto and they will be hosting in-person events beginning in December! My last Art Bar reading was in 2016 for the launch of my poetry collection Hyaena Season published by Quattro Books of Toronto.

Read about my next ten-day generative poetry retreat in 2022 at La Romita School of Art, Terni, Italy.

Read a review of my book Hyaena Season in Image Journal’s Good Letters blog by author, anthologist and long-time Image contributor, Peggy Rosenthal.

I recently posted my video about Poetry as Prayer, from the Logos Project, as well as the full article, and watch here for my upcoming Poetry as Prayer retreats.

What a time we had! La Romita Poetry Writing Retreat in Italy – Summer 2017

A community of poets and painters, great food and creative expression! And lots of laughter! What a time we had! You can check out my Facebook page for pics and blog posts by Sheila, one of the retreatants! Another retreatant, Tonya, wrote this about her experience:

Being at La Romita, in the hills of olive groves, within the deep history of Umbria and the story of the once-Capuchin monastery itself, was enchanting. I’d worked briefly with Richard Osler once and knew he would bring big energy and a head and heart full of poetry. He did that and more. The more is in his uncanny ability to enable people to find their own poetry. He invites, supports and nourishes the opening of inner channels of communication with the people we’ve been missing in ourselves, who all have so much to say. Richard gives poetry and while we received it and worked hard to learn to hear it, we also had an incredibly good time.

Read all about it!

hyaena-season-coverMy new collection of poems, Hyaena Season, launched last Fall! More than ten readings in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, New Westminster, Victoria and Calgary. And sold lots of books!

The poems in Hyaena Season touch on the intimacies of a wide range of human experience from the killing grounds of Rwanda and DR Congo, to settings more familiar here in Canada.

Hope to do some more readings in the upcoming months! Here are details on past readings! Launches and readings during the past year. Thanks to all those who came out to hear me read!

You’ll find a complete list of my works here.

Here’s a short piece on what this site is all about.

If you’re wondering where my page of readings has gone, it’s just moved – from the home page to its own place inside the site. You can always reach it from the main menu under “Richard Reading”.

Upcoming Events

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Poetry, Sometimes as a Prayer, as a Recognition of Persistence – The Latest Poetry Collection from American Poet Jennifer Grotz



American poet, university prof and translator, Jennifer Grotz


Now there are mini-moons, I read,
primordial crumbs. Or rather
there always were but now our instruments
are sensitive enough to register.

It probably means I’m dead. Or dying.
How I spend all day staring into a screen,
or typing, or reloading. Not a mirror, not a window,
a screen I hold in my hand, endlessly reach for,

sleep next to. Photogenic instead of
poetgenic: I like to think
the poem’s resistance to be about you
is poetry’s critique of you

and of how I cling to you
as though you were the world.

Jennifer Grotz from Still Falling, Graywolf Press, 2023

This little poem in Jennifer Grotz’s latest collection, Still Falling, stands apart from many of the poems in the collection that are full of images from the natural world and specific stories or reflections on loss and grief rooted in the specifics of each loss. But this little poem also brings to light the challenge these days for most of us with our ubiquitous so-called devices to stay present to the world outside the internet and to stay present to the many discomforts and the loneliness of being alive in this world.

Jennifer’s forth collection of poems proves she knows her phone or other electronic device is not the world. She is not dead, nor dying, yet! But in her clinging to it I hear the need to escape the bruising and loneliness from the reality of death and other losses up close and personal. But that escaping is its own dying, at least for me, at times!

Jennifer is not a stranger to these pages. I posted a blog on her January 27th, 2021. To read my feature of her and her marvelous poem, Over and Above, which is included in the new collection, please click here. For those of you not familiar with her she is a professor of literature, creative qwriting and translation at the University of Rochester and director (since 2017) of the prestigous Bread Loaf  Writers’ Conference. In addition to her four poetry collections she has translated poetry collection from French and Polish. Her co-translation with  Piotr Sommer in 2021 of Everything I Don’t Knowby the Polish poet, Jerzy Ficowski,  won the 2022 Pen Award for Poetry in Translation.

Especially in her poem Over and Above, some of her poems brush up against prayer. Leave me with a sense of a devotional poet addressing some presence, some knowing, greater than her. Echoing the French philosopher, activist and author, Simone Weil definition of prayer, Jennifer writes about the end of a relationship, being alone again:

Because I didn’t want it to end,
and because i was all alone again,
because in those seasons attention
was my only form of prayer,
I attended the summer rain.

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The Kindness of a Poem – Guest Poetry Blog Series # 19 – Part Two of Two – Michelle Poirier Brown, nêhiýaw-iskwêw and Métis Poet, Features the Poem, “Mood Indigo”, by American Poet William Mathews (1942-1997)

American poet William Mathews (1942-1997). Photo Credit: The Poetry Foundation.

Mood Indigo

From the porch; from the hayrick where her prickled
brothers hid and chortled and slurped into their young pink
lungs the ash-blond dusty air that lay above the bales

like low clouds, and from the squeak and suck
of the well pump, and from the glove of rust it implied
on her hand, from the dress parade of clothes

in her mothproofed closet, from her tiny Philco
with its cracked speaker and Sunday litany
(“Nick Carter,”  “The Shadow,” ”Sky King”);

from the loosening bud of her body; from hunger
as they say; and from reading; from the finger
she used to dial her own number; from the dark

loam of the borrowed fields and from the very sky—
it came from everywhere. Which is to say it was
always there, and that it came from nowhere.

It evaporated with the dew, and at dusk when dark
spread in the sky like water in a blotter it spread, too,
but it came back and curdled with milk and stung

with nettles. It was in the bleat of a lamb, the way
a clapper is in its bell, and in the raucous, scratchy
gossip of the crows. It walked with her to school and lay

with her to sleep and at last she was well pleased.
If she were to sew, she would prick her finger with it.
If she were to bake, it would linger in the kitchen

like an odor snarled in the deepest folds of childhood,
It became her dead pet, her lost love, the baby sister
blue and dead at birth, the chill headwaters of the river

that purled and meandered and ran and ran until
it issued into her, as into a sea, and then she was its
and it was wholly hers. She kept to her room, as we

learned to say, but now and then she’d come down
and pass through the kitchen, and the screen door
would close behind her with no more sound than

an envelope being sealed, and she’d walk for hours
in the fields like a lithe blue rain, and end up
in the barn, and one of us would go and bring her in.

William Mathews from the New Yorker, July 10th, 1982

(To read Michelle’s first post in her two part series please click here)

I lived with Mood Indigo, the poem above, by the American poet William Mathews, for several years. Lived with it in that it was taped to the wall of my bedroom in the apartment in Vancouver’s West End where I stayed on weekdays when I worked as a federal treaty negotiator. I shared the apartment with another woman, who mostly kept to her room. In the four years I lived there, I only twice saw her walk from my bathroom, the one with the tub, to her room. I never saw her eat.

The apartment was sparsely furnished. A small table with two wooden chairs, a futon, an Ikea chair and a floor lamp. I knew no one in Vancouver other than my roommate and my colleagues at work.

It was a time of quiet. On a work trip to Terrace, I discovered the magazine Shambala Sun at the news stand downtown. After reading it cover to cover, I restricted my reading. Aside from reading what was necessary to do my job, for 18 months, I read only dharma. For amusement, I played solitaire with a deck of cards I left on the table. And I walked. I lived at English Bay and often walked the Stanley Park seawall. At night, I began my walks going east, towards the Burrard Bridge, sometimes crossing the bridge and going as far as Jericho Beach.

It was a simple, if austere, four days of every week.

For reasons I don’t remember, when I started this commuter lifestyle, I put only one thing on my walls: a typed-out copy of  Mood Indigo, a poem I had found years before in the July 10, 1982 issue of The New Yorker. It was taped in my bedroom, near the door. I would pass it every time I came or went and often stopped to read it. Every time, it felt fresh. Our relationship was not habituated and memorized, it was companionship. It was comfort.

Partly, it spoke to faint memories. While radio shows on a “tiny Philco” was before my time, my childhood included times playing in a hayloft and there was a village water pump across the road from my grandmother’s house. I spent my teen years in a small prairie town and dated a farm boy.

But the magic wasn’t in just the setting. The poem addressed something in me. It spoke to me as if I was that girl and the poem itself had young pink lungs and an inclination to come and find me. Its diction had a foreign/familiar American flavour, but there was a universal invitation in the sound effects of William Matthews’s word choices. The juxtaposition of “hayrick” with “prickled,” “chortled,” and “slurped” marked the beginning of a charm that tumbled along in “squeak,” “suck,” “well-pump,” “glove,” and “dark loam.”

If those consonant clusters were a playful look across the room, each time I got to “the very sky,” the look crossed the room and took my hand.

I had my own sorrows, felt windswept inside, and preferred my own company. I knew I was utterly unlike the girl in the poem. All the same, the poem was kind. Again and again, it brought me in.

Note: William Mathews was an acclaimed American poet who wrote eleven full-length poetry collections and was nominated for the Pulitzer prize posthumously in 2005 and won the National Book Circle Critics Award for Poetry in 1995 and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 1997.

Blog Post by Michelle Poirier Brown, September, 2023

Always I Am Waking – Guest Poetry Blog # 19 – Introducing the Latest Contributor, nêhiýaw-iskwêw and Métis Poet and Photographer, Michelle Poirier Brown – Part One of Two

nêhiýaw-iskwêw  and Métis poet and photographer Michelle Poirier Brown


You dream me still. Racialized, de-racialized, de-colonized. You ask if I have or use a “pre-colonial mind.” You suggest edits to my biography, tell me my stated identity doesn’t exist, and that you know this because you are getting a phd in indigenous lit. You ask me flat out if I’m queer, if you can tick off another box on the grant application.

You dream we are friends, and I become someone you get to say you met for tea in the village. You dream we are friends, and you tell me you’ve taken oranges to the tent city because, of course, that is something I would want to know.

In your dreams, I am often too much, more often not enough. Because of your dreams, you find me repellant, take a prurient interest in my childhood. Your dreams make it hard for me to wake up. I dream I am drowning. I have this dream while I’m awake.

I remember the time we met on the phone, your rude awakening when I showed up at your door. I was still asleep. I checked my shoes to make sure they were clean. As if that had to be the problem.

There was the year you told me it would be best if I chose a different week to rent a cabin, that my daughters were two children too many. You stood beside me on the river bank as I watched the children float by in inner tubes, one of mine vibrant with excitement, the other grinning with fear. I think you dreamed I would never tell.

The grief from that one dreamed me for a long while.

The past is a dream that streams around me, my voice rising through it like bubbles void of vibration, their only sound an almost inaudible pop when they reach the surface. What you cannot see of me fills my lungs.

Always I am waking. I turn up in strange clothes, new words in my mouth, people I no longer know smile as if I remember. I look for others, also awake. Mostly go home alone.

Always I am swimming, cold and asleep, upstream. Bear dips a paw into the stream, flips me breathless against the sky. Wake, he says. Wake.

Michelle Poirier Brown, “Wake”, Winner of the 2019 Earle Birney Poetry Prize, from PRISM international, Issue 57.1


This privilege, first to acknowledge the generosity of the Recovering Words guest poetry bloggers. Now, my deep pleasure to introduce the nineteenth in the series. poet and photographer, Michelle Poirier Brown, who is nêhiýaw-iskwêw and a citizen of the Métis Nation based in Vernon, B.C. on the traditional unceded territories of the Syilx peoples in British Columbia. Her post below, Part One, will be followed by Part Two, her feature on the poem Mood Indigo by the acclaimed American poet William Mathews (1942-1997).
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For This I Came – Guest Poetry Blog Series # 18 – Part Two of Two – Canadian Poet Barbara Pelman Features Jewish American Poet, Alicia Ostriker (1937-)

Jewish American poet Alicia Ostriker (1937 -) Photo Credit: Blue Flower Arts.


When the full sun is on me this way
I itch and am satisfied

I take it in like a thirsty man
drinking from his garden hose

I take it in like a serene woman
receiving a man, and then when the golden leaves

rush past me sometimes I jubilate
like Abraham I am here for this I came

like Isaac I laugh trembling
well at least I am alive

and like Jacob I think in the spirit world they can never
experience pleasure the way flesh can

the body making love
the body nursing a child

the body fighting
playing basketball

even when it sickens
nursing its lesions

it struggles to stay
it clings to its bars

everything else is theology and folly.


Alicia Ostriker from The Volcano And After, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020


What a richly physical poem (especially in its third part not included here) by the Jewish American poet and teacher Alicia Ostriker. It is from a series about the Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of God. One can see all her skills at work: the easy knowledge of Biblical stories, her sensuality, her wonderful life-affirming language.

I discovered Alicia first, and then her poetry, though for me it’s usually the other way around. I first heard of her after a panel discussion I was involved in last spring, along with Isa Milman and Dvora Levin, fellow poets and members of Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria, B.C.

Isa, Dvora and I were talking about our various connections to Judaism, and were looking at other Jewish feminists who have left a footprint. Alicia’s name came up in the conversation as being one of those women along with others: Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, Marge Piercey, and in Canada, Miriam Waddington, Adele Wiseman and Elizabeth Brewster (who used to come to our synagogue every winter) to name a few.

Alicia uses her Jewish traditions as a foundational pivot to her writing, which is what interested me. My question to her  would be: “How do you use your understanding of Jewish thought and traditions in your own poetry, and how does that help you, the poet, and us, the reader, reveal our ‘authentic selves’?

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In Spite of Loss Remembering How To Fall In Love With the World Itself – Brian Turner’s First of Three New Poetry Collections Being Released in 2023 – Elegies and Love Poems to His Late Wife Ilyse Kusnetz and to the World

American poets Brian Turner and Ilyse Kusnetz (1966-2016). Photo Credit: Scottish Poetry Library.


When I don’t have a body anymore. When
I’m ash and fragmented bone. I think about
the early people, trapped between one

geological era and another, unfathomable.
Their dust must yearn to rise but can’t.
So much pressure on their carbon, hydrogen,

trace elements we’ve lost, forgotten.
Will we all become diamonds? Will anything of us
beyond an uncertain glimmer survive?

Remember when we visited the animal refuge,
for parakeets in the aviary from ice-cream sticks
glittering with seeds? The tickle and nudge

of their beaks, a perfect engulfment—
the wild delight of wild things, my love,
I hope we’ll have that again.

Ilyse Kusnetz (1966-2016) from the wild delight of wild things by Brian Turner, Alice James Books, 2023

This poem by Ilyse Kusnetz is the epigraph volume in Brian Turner’s first of three books he is releasing this year! A poem she wrote in full knowledge of her impending death from cancer. A complex poem of loss and longing.

Brian and Ilyse were married for a tragically short six years. Both acclaimed poets. Ilyse won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2014 for her book Small Hours. Brian was short-listed for the same prize in 2010 for his book, Phantom Noise and won the Beatrice Hawley Award for his debut collection, Come, Bullet based on his two tours of active duty in Iraq. Ilyse’s last book, Angel Bones,was published posthumously in 2019.

Ilyse died in 2016 and seven years later Brian is publishing three separate poetry collections all echoing and expanding on the death of Ilyse and other deep personal losses. But, also, none of them forget the wonder and joy also held inside this world of ours.
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The Art of Poetic Midrash – Guest Poetry Blog #18 – Introducing the Latest Contributor, Canadian Poet, Barbara Pelman – Part One of Two

Canadian poet Barbara Pelman. Photo Credit: Jackie Saunders-Ritchie.


—after Czeslaw Milosz's poem Should Should Not

A father should not lay his son upon an altar,
should not listen to all he is told.
He should not wander three days upon the road, thinking.
There should be discomfort between father and son, 
who look each other in the eye, and tell no truths.
Take everything you need on your back, but find in the bushes
	the one essential thing you missed.
Listen carefully to the sound the wind makes. It will tell you when to stop,
	when to turn around, when to bury yourself in grief.
They say there are angels, but they come in unfamiliar clothes, they speak 
	an unknown language, they come too late:
The feast you have laid for them has already turned to dust.

Barbara Pelman, Recovering Words, September 2023


Again, I am so pleased and honoured to feature another guest blogger. This time, the Canadian poet Barbara Pelman. Her post below, Part One, will be followed by Part Two: Barbara’s feature post on the Jewish American Alicia Ostriker (1937 – ).

I have titled Barabara’s post The Art of Poetic Midrashwhich she describes so well in her post. My other choice for a title could have been: Praise the Bent World which is taken from a poem of hers featured below. Oh, how Barbara in so many of her poems praises this bent world. And her lovely echo of the phrase Praise this mutilated world from a poem by the late great Polish poet Adam Zagajewski.

I first met Barbara at a Patrick Lane poetry retreat here on Vancouver Island B.C. many years ago. I have lost count of the Patrick Lane retreats we both attended. But I remember the particular good-natured intensity that she brought to each of these retreats. Nothing seemed to faze her. Her commitment to poetry and enhancing her craft always paramount.

And I was in the retreat where Barbara was inspired to write her epigraph poem, Isaac. It is based on a prompt of Patrick’s based on the lines from the title of the Czeslaw Milsoz poem cited above. Patrick also took a shot at using that prompt in his last book published while he was still alive, Washita. His poem, Ars Poetica.

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The Drunkeness of Things Being Various – Guest Poetry Blog Series # 17 – Part Two of Two – Canadian Poet Catherine Graham Features Northen Irish Poet Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)

Northern irish poet Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)



The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes—
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands—
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Louis MacNeice from The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice, Oxford University Press, 1967

I first read this poem by Louis MacNeice decades ago when I was studying poetry in Northern Ireland. Since then it has lived beneath my skin. The music, the magic, the stutter-stop of “suddener.” Once, when I shared this poem with my poetry class, a student exclaimed: That’s not a word! But it is and the poem makes it so.

Sometimes a room is “suddenly rich.” Or was it always that way and we just need to slow down and open to what’s there to see it?
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Grief Is Like Waiting for Fifty Giant Black Kettles to Boil – Guest Poetry Blog #17 – Introducing the Latest Contributor, Canadian Writer, Catherine Graham – Part One of Two

Canadian writer Catherine Graham

Back to the Quarry

This surface for long-legged spiders
once absolved teen skin.

Plunge into the limestone museum.
Mingle with rusty machinery

sunken by a triggered spring.
Let sunfish nibble toes and raise

the fear of turtle snaps. Pursue
pathways craved by perch, catfish, bass.

Dive in. Turn to water before it freezes.

Catherine Graham from Put Flowers Around Us and Pretend We’re Dead: New and Selected Poems, Buckrider Books, 2023


First a quick introduction to Catherine. She is a multi-faceted writer: novelist, poet and memoirist. She is also a podcaster and writing instructor based in Toronto. And she is one of the judges for the 2023 CBC Poetry Prize. A full list of her writing awards and acknowledgements is included at the end of her blog post. But now back to her epigraph poem!

So much in this poem that introduces Catherine’s introductory guest blog post. And even more when you read her blog post below which gives such a moving context to this quarry. A quarry which, in so many ways, provided a new way for Catherine to imagine a new way forward in her life through poetry after shocking back-to-back losses in her life.

There is so much freshness and surprise in the language and descriptions in Catherine’s poem. And the power of the imperatives: Let, plunge, pursue, dive in, turn to. And the quick contrast between benign toe nibbling and turtle snaps. The yes and no held by this poem, this quarry. And the breathtaking last line that explodes the poem from particular description to a broader existential horizon. Dive in. Turn to water before it freezes.

I first met Catherine at Word on the Street in Toronto many years ago. Then we met again at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Delray Beach, Florida in 2014. It was time to buy one of her books. And I did, Winterkill from 2010 and discovered a line from her poem The Buried which begins with a startling epigraph quote by the actor Tilda Swinton.

The line from The Buried resonates deeply with me still: I am the sound/of the underneath/stretched out like a sail. Again, as in her last line in her epigraph poem above, the way she can open a poem into a new dimension in a powerfully mysterious way.

And don’t miss reading her second poem in her post, the title poem from her latest collection. It is a dazzle of unexpected language and music!

I am honoured to feature Catherine in #17 of the Recovering Words Guest Poetry Blog Series. The post below, Part One of Two, will be followed by Part Two which will feature the Northern Irish poet Louis MacNeice (1907-1963).


My poetry journey began with grief. I was an undergraduate at McMaster University when I lost both parents. My mother died of breast cancer during my first year and my father died in a late night car accident September of my last year. I was consumed with grief. A worried family friend suggested that I see a therapist. The therapist encouraged me to start journaling. This helped but it wasn’t a cure.
One day while thinking about the water-filled limestone quarry we once lived beside, in a bungalow that had to be sold after their deaths, I began playing with words. I followed the word music in my head and when I stopped, I knew something meaningful had happened. I worked up the courage to share what I’d written with that same family friend. She said, “This is poetry.”
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Our Burning World – Poems and Other Writing by W.S. Merwin, Barry Lopez, Kim Stafford and Katie Farris

Smoke billows upwards from a planned ignition by firefighters tackling the Donnie Creek Complex wildfire south of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada June 3, 2023. B.C. Wildfire Service/Handout via REUTERS.

In this trembling moment, with light armor under several flags rolling across northern Syria, with civilians beaten to death in the streets of occupied Palestine, with fires roaring across the vineyards of California, and forests being felled to ensure more space for development, with student loans from profiteers breaking the backs of the young, and with Niagaras of water falling into the oceans from every sector of Greenland, in this moment, is it still possible to face the gathering darkness, and say to the physical Earth, and to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely and without embarrassment, I love you, and to embrace fearlessly the burning world.

Barry Lopez from the Foreword to Earthy Love – Stories of Intimacy and Devotion from Orion magazine, 2020

When I read this passage by the late great American writer Barry Lopez a few months ago I was filled with a wild kind of joy, not for the horrors he describes, but by its suggestive question he asks at the end of it. A question that opens up the possibility of saying yes to love, to this earth, instead of choosing despair. This choice I can make to keep loving this burning world and make a difference in slowing our approach to the cliff of planetary disaster.

I also thought of three other poems calling out to a burning world, poems I cherish and which remind me not to give hope for our beleagured planet. And it seems timely, sadly, to feature poems about a burning world when record-setting Canadian wildfires are creating unprecendented smokey conditions in major North American cities.
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Words Emerge from Silence, the Silence Remains – Two More Poems by American Literary Treasure Wendell Berry

American poet, novelist, essayist and social activist Wendell Berry (1934 – )

from Sabbath Poems
2007, V

Those who use the world assuming
their knowledge is sufficient
destroy the world. The forest
is mangled for the sale
of a few sticks, or is bulldozed
into a stream and covered over
with the earth it once stood
upon. The stream turns foul,
killing the creatures that once
lived from it. Industrial humanity,
an alien species, lives by death.
In the clutter of facts, the destroyers
leave behind them one big story
of the world and the world’s end
that they don’t know. They know
names and little stories. But the names
of everything are not everything.
The story of everything, told
is only a little story. They don’t know
the languages of the birds
who pass northward, feeding
through the treetops early
in May, kept alive by knowledge
never to be said in words.
Hang down your head. This
is our hope. Words emerge
from silence, the silence remains.

Wendell Berry from Leavings, Counterpoint, 2010

Thanks to Kate Cayley’s recent guest blog post that featured a poem of Wendell Berry, the great American novelist, essayist, poet and environmental activist I wandered back into my collection of his books – lots of them! The first book I grabbed was Leavings, a collection of his so-called Sabbath poems, written, as you might expect on Sunday’s to acknowledge that day as something for rest, for the out-of-the-ordinary.

And there from entries written in 2007 were two poems, back to back, that pulled me up short. The first one, above, about the utter importance of what we don’t know.  The tyranny often that comes from what we think we know.  I remember a developer telling me a precious coastal area was just rock, trees and dirt. Oh, how those names are not everything! What did he know then of Merlin Sheldrake’s work on fungal pathways underground that critically support trees or Suzanne Simard’s work on the intelligence of trees?

And the startle I had from these tender lines:

They don’t know
the languages of the birds
who pass northward, feeding
through the treetops early
in May, kept alive by knowledge
never to be said in words.

And how these lines reminded me of these lines from poem # 53 by e.e. cummings:

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

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