Two Toronto Poets ~ A Three Day Series. Part 1: Three Poems by Maureen Hynes

After the river, remembering

After “Hateful words survive in sticky clumps”
C.D. Wright, One With Others, p.108

the iceless morning, its pervasive
greyness: concrete sky over an infected
river. After the walk and the singing
that was both alarum and homage
for the river’s meanders, buried
but still swelling up into a baseball field,
we climbed up the hill to the broad street.
Cars weren’t stopping though I pressed
The crosswalk button several times.

My friend and I were talking about
the fox another friend had once
seen in that valley, and the deer
I’d seen. We finally crossed, stepped up
onto the curb, where we found
a swastika red-painted on the sidewalk
and up the yellow fire hydrant.
We kept walking, clumping
that image out of our minds
with our footsteps.

Enter the Eye

enter the oculus   sky window
the size of a small lake
in the library’s roof   unblinded
& blinking at nimbus clouds
that presage rain    snow
grey hints of catastrophe
where mercy & pleasure
& discovery flow in

my simple-minded wish
that every city    every neighbourhood
have    a library with an immense
roof window like this    where children’s
questions may rise unbidden
into the stratosphere
where the troubling vapours
of our times may fade
the way light does


I am in raggedy track land.
Urban Barn land. This land
has aerials and windmills
and field after field of solar panels.
Pedestrian malls and cargo
trucks pulling up to loading
docks. Solitary mothering
land. Hearts and clubs
and spades land. Diamonds, too.
Where no canal flows, where
stealthy steel and glass tiptoe in.

Yearly, the Perseids drop
with a splash here like
golf balls into a golf pond.
Kite sky and rocky lakeshore
where a small film crew
sets up on a sandy inlet.
Herbicides leaching into the lake.
Land where warehouses
collect like cells in a neurasthenic
brain, where discarded yellow
school buses are scattered like
broken pencils. Where Ajax with his
magnificent shield was conquered
by his own sorrow.

Maureen Hynes is the author of seven books, five of which are poetry. Her latest collection is Sotto Voce (fall, 2019), recently longlisted for the upcoming 2020 Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Maureen’s first book of poetry, Rough Skin, won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award, and her 2016 collection, The Poison Colour, was shortlisted for both the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster Awards. Maureen’s poetry has been included in over 25 anthologies, including twice in Best Canadian Poems in English, and in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, 2017. Maureen is poetry editor for Our Times magazine.

Banner Art: “Toronto Take #1” by Robert Frede Kenter

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