June 24, 2014 § 9 Comments

a poem for moving (leaving this neighbourhood, city, province, country), transcribed under transatlantic jetlag:

Country of no messiah, country of no
testament, country for whom there are
no seals to break: to speak your name
is to mouth gall, to utter a-a-a
and hear light crash in familiar streets,
the dust rising yellow beneath the sun

and faces crumpled in, bitter fruit
suspended on the autumn trees, mute
as lemons, fixed in cold decay, they look
straight ahead, to pinpoint space, to put
something on the ground. Small towns,

stuck in fall, facing the air and sure
of where they are: to find them is how losing
begins, straying beyond maps, to look
somewhere under Ca-, perhaps, or other
sounds, mirrored gasps growing old,
frozen hiatus, spaced into solecisms

of slow expirations, winter’s one
harvest. In this field the simplest words
deceive most: I want to say the,
but how do I stand to know where all that
finitude would rise, so precise
it stands, early winter unseen before,

a winter where a-a-a is no trick
of light, no dullness of lemons un-
remembered, no rot of small towns
choking air, but one beast of no
name, calling, untrapped by myth,
at large in absence of apocalypse,

standing over Saskatchewan its roads
stretching north to locate, to get lost,
to start decaying at four in the afternoon,
the year now forgotten, standing within
the space of lost heart and dead end,
calling, a merest the in an autumn of sighs,

wind in the small towns blowing, my arms
become tangents, and snow as space falling,
infinite end of seasons striking the void
of somewhere saying a, Lucretian sound
of snow intact. What place is this
of asymptotic skies, of white errata?

— E.D. Blodgett, “O Canada,” Arché/elegies (Edmonton: Longspoon Press), 24-25.

Reading it again this poem is unsatisfying: yes, O Canada lies between the desire for the and the utterance of a, but this means that the story to be told is one of asymptote in the mode of mediation rather than white aporia. Maybe this dissatisfaction is an effort to discipline myself toward ethnography (we’ll see how that goes). In any event I appreciate its suspension of Canada as Survival or as Two (Plus) Solitudes and westward brace myself for an American education.


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