We Creatures of the Earth Must Move and Move Again—

. . . a matter of sense—the thousand-eyed,
thousand-eared alertness of a flock.
The strategies are given names—
I don’t know them. What sticks for me is how
the air itself is altered. The way light
bends back from bellies and wings as they turn.

migration image

This duck, called a smew, is taking off from a Finnish wetland. By Thermos (Own work;) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 

Churchmouse is back home—only to ponder what it means to go elsewhere.

I was rooting around for material to share at the September installment of Churchmouse After Hours. (REMINDER: it’s the evening of Wed. Sept 27 — that’s, like, really soon!)  Our theme this month is “Migration & Journeys.” I came across Anne Reynolds Voegtlen’s “Migration,” from the September, 1998 issue of Poetry magazine. The poem itself is a “journey” toward understanding avian migration—and the longing it can call up in a lone person on the ground, looking up as a city’s worth of birds passes over.

As I ponder this happy discovery, I’m also making a stack of other possible poems and prose excerpts to read aloud—or offer up for others to read—that includes works by Homer; T. S. Eliot; two Polish poets (Adam Zagajewski and Wyslawa Szymborska—regulars at After Hours will know by now Szymborska is a favourite of mine); the marvellous Vancouver poet Elise Partridge; and Victoria’s own Patrick Lane and P.K. Page. Page brings us two exceedingly different, yet equally haunting, journeys—one a childhood flight of the imagination that leads to the deepest mysteries of existence, the other that of a small, determined, burrowing animal.

I hope the Churchmice out there are gathering their own morsels to bring to our humble literary & musical feast. See you all tomorrow evening at St. Mary’s, 1701 Elgin Rd., 7 p.m.

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4 thoughts on “We Creatures of the Earth Must Move and Move Again—

  1. Anita, these lines of poetry arrow straight to my heart! Especially now since I’m off for a visit to the river marshland farther up (farther down? I never get the direction vis-à-vis the river correct) the St. Lawrence. Snow Geese territory. We’ll see birds migrating.

  2. This sounds most interesting, Anita. Wish I lived closer!

    Do you know Daphne Marlatt’s little book At the River’s Mouth: Writing Migrations? It is quite wonderful (I have a poem called “Migrations”, published in Canthius, that has an epigraph from it)

    From: Henrietta & me Reply-To: Henrietta & me Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 1:29 AM To: Frances Subject: [New post] We Creatures of the Earth Must Move and Move Again—

    Anita Lahey posted: “. . . a matter of sense—the thousand-eyed, thousand-eared alertness of a flock. The strategies are given names— I don’t know them. What sticks for me is how the air itself is altered. The way light bends back from bellies and wings as they turn. Churchmo”

    • Frances if only this country were smaller! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I were in Ottawa… Thank you for letting me know about that Marlatt book. I haven’t read it, no. And as I wrote via email, I’d love to see your “Migrations” poem.

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