Author Archives: Sylvia D. Hamilton

Sylvia D. Hamilton

About Sylvia D. Hamilton

Sylvia D. Hamilton is an award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer, artist and educator. Her films have been broadcast in Canada and screened at festivals at home and abroad. Her writing has appeared in a variety of Canadian journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection And I Alone Escaped to Tell You was short-listed for a 2015 League of Canadian Poets Award and the 2015 East Coast Literary Poetry Award. Her recognitions include honourary degrees and a Gemini Award. She has taught at Mount Saint Vincent University and Acadia University and has lectured at universities across Canada. She holds the Roger's Chair in Communications at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Own My Own / That Word

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Own My Own

For Lucy, mother of us all

Dinknesh: the wonderful, the fabulous, the precious. That’s you.
They named you Lucy after the Beatles’ song playing
on the cassette as they celebrated finding you.

Small, 3 & ½ feet, maybe, 60 pounds.
You walked tall, 3.2 million years ago, in Afar, Ethiopia.
What happened when you walked by that riverbank where they found you?

You, the most complete, 40% of your bones intact. You surely surprised them.
You walked upright and made them give you a new title of your own:
Australopithecus afarensis. How could you know I would be thinking about you?


That Word

A boat named No Justice floats in the bay.
Gleams of gentle light peek at the horizon.
I hear the incessant juddering of the grass cutter.
The dull hum, an unruly crowd–a thousand terns
descending. Their outcry fades, that word rises.

Spewed by the Amherst councilman.
Tattooed where the children watch–
at the base of Glace Bay’s skateboard park.
Overheard at the Toronto York School Board.

Like a knife scraped over my old wound
still tender to the touch.

Remembering Marie On the Eve of the Millennium

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"Things We Carry" by Louise Pentz

Things We Carry by Louise Pentz

What does it feel like
to know you are going to die
not die like everyone must.

But die
because the one who says
he loves you
who says he will always
love you
who says if you leave him
he will kill you
because he loves you so much
he wants no one else near you.

To know that each day
could be the day he comes
when no one else is home
the day he hides under the porch
to surprise you when you come home.

To feel the breeze from
the bedroom window
broken again and unlocked
to know he is somewhere
in your house, in your home.

To believe
your only escape
is death itself.

[Marie D. stabbed 33 times by her former husband in 1997.]

On My Dining Room Table

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You won’t find heirloom silver, Royal Albert China or a cut glass crystal vase—all trashed in exchange for that second-hand leather-bound copy of Nicholas Nickleby in its original ornate well-kept box. A History of Art Impressionism essential to answer her question: how do I define ‘neoimpressionsm’. A fat ragged, coverless dictionary, the ‘u’ page is still missing. Spelling bee lists & dictee for grade 5. The last dregs of morning coffee asleep in the handless, chipped pottery cup I should toss but can’t. There’s the Crayolas box but blizzard blue, burnt sienna and desert stand are missing. The remains of the last Halloween costume when you dressed up as Quasimodo’s sister: a glue gun, glitter and silky blue ribbons. A reminder letter about winter soccer. In a hundred years what will the archeologist decide went on here.

"Rooted" by Andrea Pottyondy

“Rooted” by Andrea Pottyondy