Author Archives: Alison Smith

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.

At the Bookmobile: Helen Keller Gives Counsel

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Joie de Vivre by Judith Leidl

Joie de Vivre by Judith Leidl

Suppose we live out of darkness.
Are our bright words any less true?
If I say the sword-flash of river or
you say the streets of Paris,
is it forgery? We are kin,
raised by women who ran their lives
against the poor house, magnolia
and bog laurel pressed between
the same dusty pages. Some
would have us own nothing,
least what we’ve seen in the mind.
One small window, a sudden crack,
a persistent wind.
Our room will never stop filling.
Who says we are empty or arranged?
Tell them to sit in the worn chair
by your window, close their ears and eyes,
try to stop what pours abreast of the senses.
Cowards call it an ill draft.
They deserve their pitiful world.

*The image “sword-flash of river” is Helen Keller’s (found in The New Yorker, June 16, 2003: “What Helen Keller Saw” by Cynthia Ozick).

Spring Poem

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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