Two Poems

Poetry
Carl Leggo


Seven Sparrows

seven yellow-backed sparrows
light in the lime tips of a spruce
like ceramic miniatures
from Red Rose tea, small
enough to be almost real

they peck at the branches,
a feast of budworms, while
crows watch from telephone lines
and I sit on Nan and Pop’s patio
sipping a rye and Seven

I remember my daughter
carried the spruce home
from S.D. Cook Elementary
on Save the Earth Day,
a seedling in a Dixie cup

Pop planted it in his backyard
because we had none for a year
while on a detour from Alberta
to British Columbia that took
us home to Newfoundland

for years Pop feared he mowed
the spruce with the daisies,
and now it holds sparrows,
the longing of crows,
and memories enough

to keep the heart calling
earth’s rhythms with roots
seeking deep and deeper,
the whole earth sung
in veins of long light

 

Cliff Edges

I went away. Falling water imagined
me in other places I have been,
I wish to be. My moonshone spirit
leaps off cliff edges without even
looking for a river to fall into.

The world is a hot, noisy place
like a pulp and paper mill. Still
the only place I want to be.
I will not write the world
with a refusal to lean on light,

like Caitlin who filled binders
with scraps of disaster and dread,
like a deranged disciple

of Peter Jennings, well-paid
to point out a world of woe,
perhaps no longer recognizes joy,
like the colour-blind, can’t even
comprehend whole bands of possibility.

I will not record the lines only
of shadow’s sadness, leaning on light,
a rumination of rough cut stones,
all always recalled in the blood
with its own circular course.

pencil

Carl Leggo has published two books of poems, Growing Up Perpendicular on the Side of a Hill and View from My Mother’s House (Killick Press), and many poems and short stories in literary journals. He is an associate professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia where he teaches courses in writing and narrative inquiry. E-mail: carl.leggo[at]ubc.ca.

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