Sunday Jun 23

BlomerYvonne Yvonne Blomer was born in Zimbabwe and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband, she has taught in Japan, cycled through Southeast Asia, and lived in the UK, where she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She has published five collections of poetry and co-edited Poems from Planet Earth, an anthology out of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series in Victoria, BC. Her poems appear in Forcefield:77 BC Women Poets (Mother Tongue Press), as well as in A Crystal Though Which Love Passes: Glosas for P.K. Page (Buschek Books). Her work has twice been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, as well as in many literary journals in Canada, the US, and the UK. Her first book, a broken mirror, fallen leaf, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book by a Canadian writer. Caged is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press in 2014.


Les Passereaux
for Claire

I use its French name—Mésange bleue—
to center on its dignity. You
on the sunroof of a favourite tea house
on Elm Hill, where ancient flint cobbles
the streets below and sunlight filters
amid egg-shaped mounds so moss grows, flourishes even
the way dreams can, the way the trees’
shadows alight on red clothed tables
and I, sipping my Earl Grey, whisper
tit to the flitting blue-headed wisp
of a bird, its voice teetering on the edges,
the very edges of joy.
In that sound something of grief is born,
brilliantly transformed.

Between plaited tresses

If he were man, if she were as beautiful as he,
if she were man she’d ask: what is it you hide
under those gold and auburn plaited tresses
covering your chest, feathers full of carotenoids.
But she is bird, but he is bird and she is colour
blind to this beauty, but her ears are inside-out
fountains that let sound drip in, roll,
can you feel it roll now, that final
drawn-out rising and falling and calling
zizizizizziziie-diuh. What he hides, what she hears
is heartbeat, is breast bone letting syrinx fall,
is to man the place where collar bones meet,
the scooped out spot where a woman’s pulse imitates the soft
vibration of a bird’s wing ready for flight’s take off.

Storks, Eastern Europe

—“Wednesday, 4 August. This morning, a small child who was playing in the sand was discovered at the pit. No one even tried to find out where he was from; they just shot him.”      
Witness, 1941, Museum at Panariai

Agape, the stark bird
carnal its lust of worm

            If I could, as strong a beak
            in the shadows of grave stones

Chapel, chicken coop, slender foot
taps from wires above graves

            Wilno I say, my voice a soft squeak
            and the German woman understands where I have been

cafe, open field, Baltic sea
black-backed stork steals

            My Jewish friend sends pictures—
            long walks—raven, ash, rot

Umbrellas bloom—amber, fig, fortune
storks nest above, hold the sky

            Abattoir the killing house, she says. Power lines.
            Panaria I counter—bay leaf, black feather

a boy playing in the sand—
currant moon

What I have seen: storks on the land;
our ochre mouths hollow graves.

Magpie Shrike
corvinella melanoleuca

Head in the shade, I am
on my back in my mother’s Rhodesian garden.
koweet-koweet the wind,
footsteps on red packed road,

I am dirt along my spine.

Confusion in the cedar branches of another country—
wind-scent of earth and jacarandas—
shrike, sharp-clawed and bawling.

I am small and easily burn.

In my mother’s garden the grass is never green,
in black-and-white photographs her dress stark white.

On a tricycle, perch makes bird of my spine,
hollow-boned migrant.

I am small.

No one to let the sun out, all day it yokes the house.

This, the strong one—
shrike in the bush,
at the periphery of garden and            lunch—
one sun- impaled reptile.

                      I am dirt and burn.

Fat in a ceramic basin:
wild black-eyed shrike.                                                               

            I am two.
            I am wanting.