Medrie Purdham: A Poem

Image by Angela King-Jones, courtesy of Red Edge Images

Medrie Purdham

Yes, work now at pinning matter to spirit; do it
even if you think it’s just a quibble with the wind.

If it would make something happen, you’d
jettison this poem into space. You’d moor it
in the hollowed bone of an animal you’d spoken to softly.
You’d say it by rote in the presence of celibates.
You’d mar it in the May fires; you’d burn it to bits.

       Your first son, two years old, says time is not angry.
       He thinks numbers are girls, he thinks he’s a vowel.
       A forkful of cake makes him think he’s turned three.
       The compulsive priest of his own magic, he
       alters even his own likeness in a slow cascade.

Listen, we all know better than to name the thing we want.
The year is moving like treacle. All its birds are ghosts.

Is there a way to invite that other body? Throw a stone
from a cairn but save its replica. Plant a pear-tree in
the shade, as a life-index, maybe. Take an umbrella
into the shower and try not to sing. These are the rules of
the mind’s personal longing. These are the
rattles in which the green heart’s all stitched up.

First broadcast on CBC Radio's Sound XChange with Kelley Jo Burke, a show now sadly defunct. reproduced by permission of the author.

Medrie Purdham is a former Montrealer who lives and writes in Regina.