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Poetry of Chad Norman


A FEATHERED TUTELAGE ON THE FRONT DECK

for all Ukrainian poets, past and present, who have written and still write on behalf of national independence.


Learning is, or could be,

continues to land safely:


being there, being witness only,

as the chickadee

makes a decision,


chooses a certain seed

to fly off with.


Another morning meal,

no further celebration

or redefined holiday feast.


To know one thing now:

(seated on the red lawnchair)

moments here, are free,

are far from a war, Ukraine,


telling in a way...


the next seed, unchosen

and left behind

for another songful beak.


 

ACCIDENT AT THE MILL

for Ken Cathers


Ant

large in size,

a new friend

found in the sticks,

sticks going into stacks,

stacks of two by this

and two by that,

destined for the kiln.


Ant,

fallen between boards,

able to survive

a journey to me,

unprepared for the injury

you managed to take on,

your head up proud

but your rear-end taken.


Ant,

I see your legs

trying to do what

they always do,

carrying something,

but this moment

must be uncommon

as I see

and I don't want to.


There is a different direction

you didn't choose

going in circle after circle,

all that can be

leaving me

the big reckless man,

trying to help those legs,

legs part of your damage,

part of how

any escape is possible.


Ant,

I don't give up.

I continue with a sliver

of fir, holding it so still,

moving it under

the crushed section

until I pick you up

and try to prevent

any further confusion.


Ant,

perhaps during the next shift

I will know

you survived,

see no sign of you

on any piece of wood.


 

CHILDREN OF THE CLOCK

In memory of Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer


First born.

Second is his name.

He wears a t-shirt

if one were to notice

says, "It costs money

to stay alert and alive",

which somehow lights up

according to, better yet,

in unison with his breath,

a ticking that comes and goes.


Born, importantly, one-armed,

remarkable appendage

for a future of control,

how lives will be lived,

the duration of them

a loud endless repetition

of click click click,

steady show of telling nerves.


Second born.

Minute is her name.

She wears a round mask

if one were to forget

says, "I am clear plastic

so all can see my face

as well as my servant's,

he or she seeking a decision."


On the sunniest of mornings

reflections of their faces

can be seen as Minute

provides, explanations on

when to leave, or why to stay;

face to face, private acceptance,

a hand offering losses and wins.


Third born.

Hour is his name.

He wears a hockey jersey

if one were to choose

says, "I am on backwards

so number 12 is celebrated,

a reminder teams need games

expected to begin when I say".


Hour is unlike the others.

He is the longest.

Closer, perhaps, to clock's

other larger and older family

with locally known names

like Day, Week, Month, Year,

and that one unforgettable uncle

nick-named, Time.


 

MAKING THE CANDLES FIT


A wish in the snowflake

with the aimless wind

finds my exposed tongue.


Inside now where I live on

fewer doors to open

as the hallway of my life

continues to shorten.


Standing by room sixty-three

a day before I am reminded

about the date of my birth.


Downing my youth

a certain aged mix

makes it taste so fine,

makes it all easy to swallow.


Casa Harris

Truro, N.S.

February 12, 2023


 

NO AUDITIONS NECESSARY


After the hatching

and flight is possible,

after parents' rapid care,

dry catfood

in the beak,

baby starling has no use

for any idol show:

to possess

the exclusive talent

no human

will ever master,

to land and rest on

a tiny stuffed belly,

return to the safety of a wire.














Chad Norman lives and writes in Truro, Nova Scotia. In 1992, he was awarded the Gwendolyn MacEwen Memorial Award for Poetry, the judges were Margaret Atwood, Barry Callaghan, and Al Purdy. His poems appear in journals, magazines and anthologies around the world. His most recent book, 'A Matter of Inclusion', is out now, with a new collection, 'Parental Forest', scheduled for Spring 2024.


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