Review: As If a Raven

Kelly Shepherd reviews As If a Raven for The Goose.


“Beyond their ideas and their (possible) origins, though, these poems should also be acknowledged for their careful music: they are alive with wordplay, assonance, alliteration. Their images and songs flit from place to place, and are gone in a flash, but they are worth seeking out again.”

Read the complete review here.

Water and Weeds

When I sing “we stand on guard for thee” I want that to mean, from this day forward we stand for the first people and their rights, we stand for the natural world.

I am the woman sitting in her back garden
contemplating drought and weeds.

When I begin to write, I want the lines of a poem
to be the small pebble that drops to the water’s depths.

Sometimes, instead, a black feather
weightless and floating.

Sometimes a child’s chalk candy

If we are happy, let it bowl us over.
If we are lost, let’s find the shore.

Tonight, music and fireworks, a date,
the many years, the immigrants,
those who have come, who have stayed.
Those whose ancient ancestors wait
in the shadows of long-fallen totems,
call on the brave to again be brave.

I have been reading Thomas King and Virginia Woolf.
I have been imagining the very words and the earth they rise from,
how I too come from these places.

I have been laughing. Carefully teaching my son
how to hang laundry on the line.
Cold water, clean soap
and for a stain, the sun’s light to bleach.

I am barefoot in my garden.
I am standing in the uncertain mist of history
hoping to slow the world down.

I will touch your hand,
repeat your name to remember it.

Language is alive in a poem. Memory in a word.

I am a woman standing on the shores of the great pacific,
I am reaching out my arms, ready
to learn the first words of this land,
holding hope as I walk my feet into the jagged tide.

– a poem for Canada Day, July 1 2015
Yvonne at the BC Legislature - Canada Day 2015

Still life with Blackbird on Lilac Branch

Listen to those blackbirds.  Gods
of the slick sun.  Their voices:
a thick rolling on the tongue.
Listen to them crinkle and croon,
call out the fields, the blue,
puffed-up blooms, the eccentricity
of humans.  There is origin and orgasm
in that trill chortle.  Heart ring
heart beat, the finger-picked song
of the body letting go, leaping to
something as thin, as thick as air.

– from As if a Raven