Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday poem #200 : Daphne Marlatt : austral light

why does it surface now in the morning dark of a sodden West Coast street, that image of  sunlight shining off her arm, her pint-size white cotton singlet, standing in a tin tub set outdoors against the house, my baby sister holding onto the sides of the tub with an interrogative tilt to her head, provoked by a laugh? a call?   peering in light and shadow, facing what’s almost remembered, then turning her backside, busy with lifting something luminous, its pour --

two fading snaps from a backyard I couldn’t remember when I went back to search that Melbourne street. who was holding the camera?  my mother, pregnant again, my father returned to the chaos of post-occupied Penang, his absence eclipsed in that moment of light, tiaras of drops, their drench, splash-- Stop it! now!-- cascades we understood, extreme in the moment.

Born in Australia, Vancouver poet Daphne Marlatt immigrated to Canada from Penang, Malaysia as a child in 1951. A critically acclaimed poet (Steveston, Liquidities) and novelist (Ana Historic, Taken), her most recent poetry title, Reading Sveva (2016, Talonbooks) responds to the work and thought of the Italian-Canadian artist, Sveva Caetani.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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