From Whetstone (2005)
Sand From the Gobi Desert
What Comes After
The Light In My Mother's Kitchen
It Is Night
Blizzard (and notes & commentary)
 
From The Literary Review of Canada, Nov. 2005
The Unborn (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
From Apocrypha of Light (2002)
What the Snake Brings to the World
A Prophet in his Own Country
The Origin of the Species
Lesson In Perspective (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
From Everything Arrives at the Light (1995)
Fear of Snakes (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
From The Garden Going On Without Us (1985)
In Moonlight


Sand From the Gobi Desert
 
Sand from the Gobi Desert blows across Saskatchewan,
becomes the irritation in an eye. So say the scientists who
separate the smallest pollen from its wings of grit,
identify the origin and name. You have to wonder where
the dust from these fields ends up: Zimbabwe, Fiji,
on the row of shoes outside a mosque in Istanbul,
on the green rise of a belly in the Jade Museum in Angkor Wat?
And what of our breath, grey hair freed from a comb, the torn
    threads of shadows?
Just now the salt from a woman's tears settles finely its invisible kiss
on my upper lip. She's been crying in Paris on the street that means
Middle of the Day though it's night there, and she doesn't want
    the day to come.
Would it comfort her to know another, halfway round the world,
    can taste her grief?
Another would send her, if she could, the rare flakes of snow
falling here before the sunrise, snow that bare4ly fleeces the brown
    back of what's
too dry to be a field of wheat, and winter's almost passed. Snow
    on her lashes.
What of apple blossoms, my father's ashes, small scraps of sadness
that slip out of reach? Is it comforting to know the wind
never travels empty? A sparrow in the Alhambra's arabesques
rides the laughter spilling from our kitchen, the smell of garlic
makes the dust delicious where and where it falls.


What Comes After
 
I am my own big dog.
Walk, and I'm at the door,
eat, and I take what I offer,
lie down, and I curl on the floor,
my heavy head between my paws.
 
I don't need anything but this,
I don't think of what comes after.
 
I sing the way a dog sings,
I weep the way a dog weeps.
Every night at my feet
I am a big sack of sleep
stinking of me.


The Light In My Mother's Kitchen
 
Three green tomatoes on the windowsill,
offerings the household gods will not refuse.
My mother isn't here, but the bulb glows
in the small house of the oven
where something firm and golden
pushes against the tin walls of a pan.
If my father were alive he'd be asking
What's for supper? He'd be sitting
at the table with a beer and cigarette,
his hard heels on the rung of a chair,
my mother with her back to him,
as if he'd spoken out of turn,
as if he'd asked too much again.
The smell of yeast, and no one talking.
The sound of the fridge saving everything
that can be saved. As the sun disappears
the oven casts its light on what will feed us.
Cigarette smoke rises, the dark breath
of my father filling my mouth.


It Is Night
 
Wind turns back the sheets of the field.
What needs to sleep, sleeps there.
What needs to rest.
 
The door has fallen from the moon.
It floats in the slough, all knob and hinges.
 
Now the moon's so open
anything could walk right through.
 
Only the fox is travelling.
One minute he's a cat, the next a coyote.
 
Enough light to see by
yet my mouth lies in darkness.
What needs to sleep, sleeps there.
What needs to rest.
 
Outside my mind, the wind is reckoning.
Always there is something
to figure out.


Blizzard (Click here for notes & commentary)
 
Walking into wind, I lean into my mother's muskrat coat;
around the cuffs her wristbones have worn away the fur.
 
If we stood still we'd disappear. There's no up or down,
no houses with their windows lit. The only noise is wind
 
and what's inside us. When we get home my father
will be there or not. No one ever looks for us.
 
I could lie down and stay right here where snow is all
that happens, and silence isn't loneliness just cold
 
not talking. My mother tugs at me and won't let go.
Then stops to find her bearings. In our hoods of stars
 
we don't know if anyone will understand
the tongue we speak, so far we are from home.


The Unborn   (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
They don't show up that often
and when they do, it's possible
to ignore them like all the other things
that go on while you sleep.
 
Most hauntings occur in the garden.
A wind that is not a wind fingers the bamboo,
a blurred face appears like a child's
below the surface of the water, a fish rising
where a mouth would be, moonlight too low
for moonlight pouring from the throats of lilies.
 
They seem most at home in snow
falling out of season, unflowering the asters
and sprays of phlox, slouching with cold ease
along the fir's wide branches, erasing all
the day's mistakes, the soiled, the misforgotten.
 
Some begin to claim their birthrites
in snow's unmothering abundance;
they move towards the names you've placed
like bowls of milk beside the slow, black river:
Heart's Sorrow, Wind Rider,
Little Bell of the Bamboo Grove.


What the Snake Brings to the World
 
Without the snake
there'd be no letter S.
No forked tongue and toil,
no pain and sin. No wonder
the snake's without shoulders.
What could bear such a weight!
 
The snake's responsible for everything
that slides and hisses, that moves
without feet or legs. The wind, for example.
The sea in its long sweeps to shore and out again.
 
The snake has done some good, then.
Even sin to the ordinary man
brings its pleasures. And without
the letter S traced belly-wise
outside the gates of Eden
we'd have to live
with the singular of everything:
sparrow, leg, breath,
mercy, Truth.


A Prophet In His Own Country
 
The gopher on his hind legs
is taut with holiness and fright.
Miniature and beardless,
he could be stoned or flooded out,
burnt alive in stubble fields,
martry to children for a penny a tail.
 
How can you not believe an animal
who goes down head first
into darkness, into the ceaseless
pull of gravity beneath him?
What faith that takes!
 
I come to him with questions
because I love his ears, how perfectly
they fit, how flat they lie against his head.
They hear the inner and the outer
worlds: what rain says
underground. The stone's praise
for the sparrow's ankle bone.
 
Little earth-otter, little dusty Lazarus,
he vanishes, he rises. He won't tell us
what he's seen.

 

The Origin of the Species
 
"...but the old man only said that it was pointless to speak of
there being no horses in the world for God would not permit
such a thing."
    --Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
 
Drenched with dawn
eohippus, smaller than a fox,
walked out of chaos.
 
She struck the sand. Water
gushed from her hoofprint,
drops flying through the air
 
and where they fell
the sky came down to rest
and a thousand miracles of grass
 
meadowed the desert.
For centuries eohippus lived
satisfied and self-contained
 
then her legs and muzzle lengthened,
muscles pushed against
her withers, thickened her neck.
 
Now ready for the wind
she made it lean and boneless,
its mane and tail visible
 
across the sky. Imagine horse
and wind running in the sun's
warm pastures before the fall
 
Imagine the two of them alone
adrift in the absolute
beatitude of grass,
 
no insect biting,
no rope or bridle.
In the mornings of that lost
 
and long ago beginning,
nothing broken
or in need of breaking.

 

Lesson in Perspective   (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
The cat creates world
with a paw's touch, with a stroke of whiskers,
intricate parallels like a lesson in perspective
where no lines meet.
 
The colours are those a cat can see,
the many greys and sepias of shade,
the sun's glossolalia on blades of grass
quivering in the slightest breeze.
 
After warbler and nuthatch,
after thrush, chickadee, and finch,
the cat makes mouse, bumblebee, and spider,
then the dragonfly that beats
on the rilled roof of his mouth,
a word with wings.
 
The cat makes words with fangs, too,
with hooves, fins, and tusks.
At dusk he says a word that moves
so lightly across the mind
it must be a small, nectar-sipping moth,
feet of such delicate design
it walks on petals and leaves no bruise.


Fear of Snakes   (Listen to Lorna read the poem)
 
The snake can separate itself
from its shadow, move on ribbons of light,
taste the air, the morning and the evening,
the darkness at the heart of things. I remember
when my fear of snakes left for good,
it fell behind me like an old skin. In Swift Current
the boys found a huge snake and chased me
down the alleys, Larry Moen carrying it like a green torch,
the others yelling, Drop it down her back, my terror
of it sliding in the runnell of my spine (Larry,
the one who touched the inside of my legs on the swing,
an older boy we knew we shouldn't get close to
with our little dresses, our soft skin), my brother
saying Let her go, and I crouched behind the caraganas,
watched Larry nail the snake to a telephone pole.
It twisted on twin points of light, unable to crawl
out of its pain, its mouth opening, the red
tongue tasting its own terror, I loved it then,
that snake. The boys standing there with their stupid hands
dangling from their wrists, the beautiful green
mouth opening, a terrible dark O
no one could hear.

 

In Moonlight
 
Something moves
just beyond the mind's
clumsy fingers.
 
It has to do with seeds.
The earth's insomnia.
The garden going on
without us
 
needing no one
to watch it
 
not even the moon.



 
Click pictures
to enlarge
 

Reading at the Durham Words Aloud Festival, November, 2007.
 
 
 

Above: Ivan E. Coyote and Lorna at WordsAloud Festival.
 
 
 

Above: Shelagh Rogers interviews Lorna at Common Magic Conference.
 
 
 

Above: Sheri-D Wilson with Lorna.
 
 
 

Above: Patrick Lane, Lorna Crozier, and Joe Rosenblatt.
 
 
 

Above: Lorna relaxes at Susan Musgrave's house, circa 2006.
 
 
 

Above: Reading at Mocambo Po, Victoria, BC, 2007.
 
 
 

Above: Picking out a pumpkin with my granddaughter..
 
 
 

Above: "Now that's a carrot." (Lorna with grandson, Fin.)
 
 
 

Above: Lorna at North Saanich book club.