Chris Corrigan walks some pretty literary streets–the kind that don’t exist in strip malls.
A few months ago as I was walking in Government Street in Victoria I met a woman standing beneath a tree outside Munroâ€™s Books. The tree had small pieces of paper attached to them and when I looked closer I saw that they were poems, hanging on a â€œpoet tree.â€ The poet turned out to be Yvonne Blomer and she asked me if she could read me a poem. When I said, with delight, â€œof course!â€ she asked whether I preferred any particular subject. I replied that I wished her to read me a poem about the territory of the open heart. She looked at me for a second and then reached into a file folder and pulled out this one:
To watch over the vineyards
O carrion crow, pulpy skull of scarecrow
going soft in your black bill,
in this fetish-orange field lies worship:
the sweep of glossed plumage over glistening
membrane; lies the sweet blood of purple skinned grape
cut on your sharp edged tomia,
shimmering there; sun-light on wet earth.
You too sweet to ripe; you black in the shadows, calling when youâ€™re calling – –
the herds fly in dust gone crow, gone scare,
gone trill in clicks and shouts of krrrkrrr.
It seems to me that poetry belongs outside, in the town square or on the street, like this. It’s a spoken form that doesn’t always translate well from the page, nor make the kind of impact it might otherwise.