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From the archives

The Path of Poetic Resistance

To disarm Canada and its canon

Are Interests Really Value-Free?

A salvo from the “realist” school of Canadian foreign relations

Going It Alone

The marvellous, single-minded, doggedly strange passion of citizen scientists


Unable to sleep, you rebuild a guitar in your mind,

the shapely round-shouldered requinto

you spent all October constructing.


You find some nicely quartered cedar,

billets of palisander, camphor,

pear, zebrano, bearclaw spruce

and Indonesian rosewood, cool

and oily, heavy in the hand

and smelling of remoteness.


You thin the panels with a toothed plane,

and strike them with your thumb to hear the tone.


You light a fire in an iron pipe

and bend the wood around it, all the while

cocking an ear to sounds that might be in there,

music you would like to hear it play.


Your glue is from the skin of a rabbit,

your polish from the resinous secretions

of the Assamese lac beetle,

you have robbed the world for this,

and these

are the hours of your life in solid form,

the liquid shapelessness of your days

grown into a kind of crystal,

and when it is played,

you can say:  I have been intimate

with some small certainty,

a member of truth’s ill-sorted family.

Whatever else, there is this.


Then, still unable to sleep,

you come down the stairs in the dark

holding a pillow under your arm,

groping around for the couch,

and someone who does not need to be named

has left your high-strung handmade baby

helpless on the floor,

and what you hear in the dark is

chik, ktch and ktang.


Lifting your foot

to pull out the slivers

you have to think, what

can be salvaged from this?

So, inevitably, you search through the wreckage

looking for poetry.

Bruce Taylor’s fourth collection, No End in Strangeness, will be published by Cormorant in the spring of 2011. Two of his previous collections won the A.M. Klein Award for poetry in Quebec. He lives in Wakefield, Quebec, with his wife and three children.