For the Start of the The Jim Interview
WHAT DOES MADE IN CANADA MEAN TO YOU? (HOW DID YOU APPROACH WRITING A POEM ABOUT THIS THEME?)
The people of Canada are the treads which weaves together the various landscapes of a land that stretches from sea to sea to sea.
We stand with our backs to the south, not so much in an individual defiance of external influence, but more in celebration of collective creativity. We are a people of changing seasons, the dramatic shifts of nature, light and dark days, hot weeks and cold months, reflects in our psyche. It is possible for us to contend different perspectives while embracing common ground. In Canada we often have the political blending of Red Tories and Free Market Communists as our politicians frantically try to embrace the seasonal nature of the Canadian voter. Of course, we quickly dismiss politicians at the polls, because THEY are the ones who are opportunistic, wishy-washy, and short sighted. The ideal Canadian parliament is populated by charming drunks and pious preachers. One way or the other, our Prime Minister is always a charismatic drunk preaching about the need for humility while the opposition leader stands with thrusting finger claiming their party is the one moving past blame for the good of the nation. And we wouldn’t want it any other way; our leaders are always fragmented projections of our own shifting self-contempt.
Canadians roll with the clouds of the seasons, but it is an everlasting connection to the landscape that roots us.
Made in Canada solutions cannot come from above, they come from the Land, they come from the People.
Historically winter has forced us to seek collective solutions based upon local conditions; as well, we have an awareness of our environment because its extremes can kill us.
The planet needs Medicare.
Pollution is a communist property. Pollution is a communist property. Pollution is the fastest growing form of property in the world today; there is nothing private about it. Pollution is the communism of the rich shared equally with the poor. Communist pollution does not create wealth it destroys future possibility of life. Pollution makes every species upon our planet a communist consumer of human capitalism. Wolves do not support Global Capitalism. Listen and you will hear them howling from Canadian hill tops.
I did not write this poem. This poem stocked me for over a year. It tracked me. It hunted me. Its teeth grabbed me by the throat. It pulled me down. I knelt before it as it came in from all sides to devour me.
A living landscape is marked by the fading footprints of the extinct.
This time last year Ravens had flooded the sky at the end of my lake. I was not drawn directly to the focus of their flight even though, eager to share the gregarious bounty of life, they called out to me as some of the flock flew over my head doing acrobatics in order to get my attention. I took a circular path through the woods to the location.
There I found the remains of a white-tailed deer which had offered itself to the wolves. The lay of the carcass was illustrated by maps of blood and entrails on ice and snow. It formed a circle of four points. The background wash of this ring of life and death was endless light-brown blotches of raven shit; giving the scene the quality of a faded sepia photo now pulled from an ancient trunk out into the reflective glare of winter light.
Crimson oxygen-soaked blood stained white snow; marking the sudden moment one wolf shot out of the trees, down the hill-side, bursting out of the bush. Jaws clamped the deer’s throat: pulled it to the ground. The rest of the pack had been driving the prey along the curving hillside to this ambush while a hungry Raven marked the deer from above.
From the bog two loping wolves had pushed the deer along the shore-line, as a fourth member of the pack came across from the open lake in the opposite direction to make sure the deer turned inward towards the ambush; its intended direction of flight now blocked. A fifth wolf was coming up the creek where the lake funnelled (just in case the ambush missed), but the deer never saw this wolf, or in fact the ambush wolf, the deer never knew what hit it; the expression frozen on its face captured the very second it was pulled to ground. The rest of the hungry pack then broke into a run and soon the kill was dragged to a bare patch of wind-blown ice, the second point in the circle. Here the pack ripped the belly open and ravenously ate, leaving a carcass sized outline of brownish post-mortem blood and other internal body fluids. About half of the body was left to be frozen on the ice at the fourth point. For a week the pack would return. Rib bones would be chewed to nubs. The hide would be gnawed to bits. Thigh bones ground to nothing. The skull stripped bare. The circular path of the dispatched deer was completed by the body lying in its final resting spot where it had been pulled back towards the initial bright red blotch. Its legs pointed outwards, nose pointed towards the initial location of contact, only now the deer was moving in the opposite direction. The curve of its frozen prancing body evoked the stylised shape of a constellation of stars: The hunting was a quite anticipation: The kill a solemn formal act: The feeding a carnal festival.
The third point in the four point circle was less obvious. It lay on the curve between the feeding and where the remains now rested; however, there was a faint outline and one small patch of blood marked the snow. The pack’s feeding had stopped, but one pack member continued its attack at this third point where the meat now waited to be put into the freezer. The focus of attack was near the top of the deer’s body. The deer’s throat had been ripped down to the bone even thought much choicer cuts were still available. The youngest member of the pack who has been loping along side of its mother driving the deer had seen the father’s attack, and with youthful adrenaline still pumping; here at the third point, the pack let the yearling play with the meat, acting out its histrionic gnawing of an imaginary deer’s throat. One can’t help but admire the ferocity of youth as it attacks the dead past; it is an important step towards learning how to hunt the living future.
The deer remained the focus of many for the rest of the winter. Fox and rabbits, squirrels and mink, birds of all kinds came for a visit. By spring a skull attached to a short spine lay next to fragments of bone and a few pieces of hide on the ice. It moved with the flow towards the creek. These bones and last threads of sinews disappeared into the thick silt of the bog, tufts of skin drifted all the way to the beaver dam where birds collected fleece to line their nests, a few hairs were visible here and there late into the fall, the return of winter washed the scene white.
A living landscape is marked by the fading footprints of the extinct.