In the narrow window between work and home, between duty and laundry, feeding the cat, trying to sleep, getting my ass to yoga, and tweeting, I have been working on a poetry book. I have until the end of November to submit it to the publisher so I’m focused. Even if it is only in that narrow, intense little pocket of time. So because I have nothing to say except through poetry, I thought to give a few highlights of some of my fave poems.
The book is called ‘Surrounded by Water’ and it is a capsule of my time living on Vancouver Island. It was 7 years and I had a lot of ups and downs, as in broken hearts and falling in love and broken hearts and–yeah, . It’s behind me and a big namaste to all that pain. I’ve put it all in compact collection that I hope will be a nicely balanced boat I can finally sail off into the distance. If you are a writer that has spent a lot of time with something you will know what I mean but feeling excited I’m almost ready to be done with this collection of words.
A lot of the poems have the ocean flowing through them. When I lived on Vancouver Island, I used to go to a fabulous place called Mystic Beach (check it out, it’s magical) and there was this amazing experience of walking through the cool, mossy, lush, brown bark filled forest and then down worn driftwood steps to the ocean I never tired of.
Down, down the rooted path
the blue areola draws us to her
through the womb of old growth forest.
It feels a little–or rather a lot–west coast but the summers there brought out the Bohemian in me. It is very hard to edit nearly a thousand poems and think about which ones need to go with which. I see many books there but which book is this one I have to ask myself. It’s sometimes a lonely journey and one full of memories.
I don’t miss being bound by ferries on an island but I sometimes miss being able to get out into nature more. One of the things I did love about living in a smaller community was the smell of cedar. Before the island, I used to live on the Sunshine Coast and many of the homes I rented had a wood stove that required me to, of course, chop wood and I got highly accomplished at slivering cedar for kindling. The smell and heat from cedar is like no other. Here, a little poem I wrote after getting wood for the stove one day:
This morning at the wood pile
A crow or raven?
Then is gone.
Now a day full of longing
From some umbilical place
As though my infancy
Could be explained by wings.
Now I live in a big city, well not as grand as New York or Berlin but Vancouver is a growing city, a cosmopolitan city and one that has an intense pace that can blanket the mind with a hum twenty four hours a day. The other day I found myself in the Spirit Forest on the farthest western edge of the city–isn’t that a great name, Spirit Forest? As a kid I just called it the Endowment Lands but now it’s a proper park with beautiful trails that nestle deep into its barky, woody, wet, green dripping west coast heart. And I kept inhaling and inhaling and there was something there at the edge pulling me in, reminding me of my connection to nature and then I knew–it was my own voice. The forest just gave me the silence to hear it again.