Spring Poem

When I woke up this morning
two birds were inside the cage of sticks
I’d struck in the ground for peas.
Below them, a green reception of wet vines.
Weeks before I’d gone into burnt pasture
and cut alders before they leafed.
I plumped cold ground.
I pressed cloudy seeds.
I swept away little stones.
Thank-you, fairy godmothers: I see
there are two pairs of finches now, dark and gold.

When I woke up this morning
two of us were caged inside my arms.
We had found a house.
We tucked us into bed.
We thickened my bones with flesh.
The baby journeyed from that far place
that exits between my legs.
When he suckles, milk gushes
from a fountain we’ve never seen.
In its valves the mothers sing
this body, so lucky is your beggary.

"On a Wing and a Prayer" by Judy Arsenault

“On a Wing and a Prayer” by Judy Arsenault

About Alison Smith

Alison Smith lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. She has published two full-length collections of poetry and one chapbook with Gaspereau Press: Wedding House (2001); Six Mats and One Year (2003); and Fishwork, Dear (2009). Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Event, The Gaspereau Review, Pottersfield Portfolio, New Germany Connections, and Small Scales, the Ecology Action Centre's sustainable small-scale fisheries blog. She was recently shortlisted for the 2013 CBC Poetry Prize.

About Judy Arsenault

Judy Arsenault studied fine art studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick  and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in the '80s. She now lives in Maitland, Nova Scotia. Many of her works are acrylic on canvas, but she has also been working intensely with the ancient medium of encaustic, a mixture of molten beeswax, pigment and resin. Judy's paintings can be seen at the Secord Gallery in Halifax, at Gallery 215 in Selma, and at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's Art Sales and Rental Gallery in Halifax.  Her work is in the public collections of the Municipality of the County of Colchester, the Nova Scotia Art Bank, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, and in many private collections. Her paintings are also featured in the publication Nova Scotia's Contemporary Artists Volume 2, edited and published by Dee Appleby. Judy writes that the painting shown here "is dedicated to the memory of my mother, also a painter, who had often depicted birds in her own artwork. Embedded in the beeswax are memories, emotions and reflections on life, both for birds and for people, because in many ways we simply are not that different." For more information on her work, please visit her website.

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