A Fertile Place for Poetry

by | Jan 12, 2008

Chris Corrigan walks some pretty literary streets–the kind that don’t exist in strip malls.

A few months ago as I was walking in Government Street in Victoria I met a woman standing beneath a tree outside Munro’s Books. The tree had small pieces of paper attached to them and when I looked closer I saw that they were poems, hanging on a “poet tree.” The poet turned out to be Yvonne Blomer and she asked me if she could read me a poem. When I said, with delight, “of course!” she asked whether I preferred any particular subject. I replied that I wished her to read me a poem about the territory of the open heart. She looked at me for a second and then reached into a file folder and pulled out this one:

To watch over the vineyards

O carrion crow, pulpy skull of scarecrow

going soft in your black bill,

in this fetish-orange field lies worship:

the sweep of glossed plumage over glistening

membrane; lies the sweet blood of purple skinned grape

cut on your sharp edged tomia,

shimmering there; sun-light on wet earth.

You too sweet to ripe; you black in the shadows, calling when you’re calling – –

the herds fly in dust gone crow, gone scare,

gone trill in clicks and shouts of krrrkrrr.

It seems to me that poetry belongs outside, in the town square or on the street, like this. It’s a spoken form that doesn’t always translate well from the page, nor make the kind of impact it might otherwise.