Friday, February 1, 2013

Douglas Barbour

‘A View of Buildings and Water’
will always be a palimpsest
     of transparencies
one city after another
     from above     noted
            in the moment  before

rivers     lakes     the ocean
     harboured     docks
            full or slowly emptying
     the mass of commerce
            striding forth

or armies     citizens
     will try to protect
&  always someone looks down
     upon such tiny movements
            the jammed rush before disaster

on horseback     or tank
     in the hills surround
or the green screen
     even higher     as
            the bombs fall
            the planes diverge

this singular view
     repeated through time
            across all boundaries
     impels respect     no
            matter the cause

or reason not     what cities
     have wrong
            headed     done
but remember    civitas
     that the possibilities
            about to disappear are ours

‘The Holy Ghost is but

                                    a pigeon’
                                                                                           E D Blodgett
to feel your way back
into faith     a past
where good folk walked
to church    & then away
would be a good thing

perhaps     to say
& feel     that touch
of transcendence
to know so fully
god is always here

present & accounted for
accountant of   beyond
belief   a sturdy deposit
to be drawn on
throughout a long slow life

hearing those great wings
beating     the rhythm
of that life     or smaller
fluffing   in disdain
scurrying across a square

rivers & mountains
will we think
not end

in one lifetime
at least    they
do not change

or appear  still
the same
that melody

a little cynical
as science
 must become

faced with also
unchanging ignorance
no wish for change

no wish to
change changes

© Sarah Lang

Douglas Barbour's many books of criticism and poetry include Fragmenting Body etc. (NeWest Press/Salt, 2000), Breath Takes (Wolsak & Wynn, 2002), and most recently Continuations and Continuations 2, with Sheila Murphy (University of Alberta Press, 2006/2012), and Recording Dates (Rubicon Press, 2012). He was inaugurated into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame in 2003. He writes a review blog on SF&F and contemporary poetry:

1 comment:

  1. These are such welcome and strong poems, Doug. "Rivers and Mountains" is especially stunning. I thank you for these!