The Bigness of Small Poems – #19 in a Series – David Fraser Storms the Unspeakable!

Canadian poet David Fraser

Canadian poet David Fraser

The End

The room is too small
for a serious debate between
two lovers who are no more,
but perfect for the silences
of space, the cosmos
swallowing up comment,
leaving only one exit
for both of them, each not
wanting to be the first.

David Fraser from After All the Scissor Work Is Done, Leaf Press, 2016

The life of poetry on Vancouver Island, B.C., and in particular, in Nanaimo, would be a lot leaner without the contributions of David Fraser, undaunted champion of all things poetry. Whether his own poems, or the one’s published in his magazine Ascent Aspirations, or the poems shared at WordStorm, Nanaimo’s spoken word poetry reading series he co-founded in 2007, Fraser believes in the power of the poetic word.

FraserBookCoverAnd the power of the poetic word is obvious, often disturbingly so, in Fraser’s latest poetry collection, After All the Scissor Work Is Done. So much to see and feel in a title. Yes, the reference to what is left on the cutting room floor. But more, what is left inside the human heart after life does its scissor work. A book where a heart’s longings are cut down to size. A book that leaves us, after the scissor work is done, with shards/, broken bits and bones. But from that detritus Fraser somehow has made a book, whole and complete, of the dark longings – accepted and rejected – of the human heart.

The stark simplicity of The End, makes so particular, a scene that is universal. A moment I know so well. Different man, different woman, different room but the same confining cosmos swallowing up comment. The same silence, unredeemed.

The more I read Fraser’s book the more surprises I find. Lots of poems in a woman’s voice. Lots of eros in the work and some of it haunts me with its sinister undertones. These poems very much inhabit a fallen world but one that welcomes the reader as witness. This is a book worth inhabiting.

To conclude: this elegiac love poem:

Her Sun Is Down

Her sun is down. Her lover
is the still eye of a deer.
Last evening, last summer
almost gone.
Her lover is the last raspberry on the cane,
sweet juice in her mouth,
his nipple on her tongue.
She remembers
how from behind
he held her breasts.
She is in the garden once again
but now alone.
Her fingers open the rough, dirt rows
he hoed.
She finds two summer potatoes.
Cups them, small, in her hand and knows now
the consequences of his empty eye,
knows how her lover’s passing
has so dismantled her.

David Fraser, ibid



  1. Pat Smekal
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    This is a review from one who understands how David’s poetry can reach into whatever may lie beneath the surface, stir it up, and astound us.

  2. Mary Nelson
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Richard, thanks for your powerful eye in choosing poems that speak so well to the condition of us human beings, we small, somewhat furry creatures who do the best we can. David’s are quite splendid.

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