Abegweit, You Were My Cradle

Abegweit, You Were My Cradle
(A response to a song by Lennie Gallant)

Abegweit, you were my cradle.
Though the sea eats your red flesh away,
The day will come you’ll be my grave,
Thyme, spruce and bay scented on the waves.

Though the sea eats our red flesh away,
The Man-Born-of-Speech sees his dreams
Of thyme, spruce and bay sent by the waves
To cheat the cradles and rob the graves.

Man-Born-of-Speech, have you ceased your dreams
Of swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches
To feed their cradles and stock your graves
Covered with sparkling morning dew?

Swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches,
The day will come you too will see my grave
Covered with sparkling morning dew
On Abegweit, cradled on the waves.

AGG20140814

Depth Charge: When I was on Prince Edward Island this summer I went to see Lennie Gallant at the Mackenzie Theatre and one of the highlights of the show was his song “Abegweit,” which featured chanting by Hubert Francis and recounted the Mi’kmaq legend that every night Glooscap, literally “Man [created] from only speech,” slept, dreaming, with Abegweit (now, Prince Edward Island) as his pillow. This pantoum was born of that song and my experiences on the Island this summer.

Griffin Tombstone_20140810_144053

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

If we were to sing

Always Water II by Christine Trainor

Always Water II by Christine Trainor

If we were to sing
my blood red would flow,
first from my wide eyes,
iron, salt and sorrow.

My blood red would flow
into rivers of you,
iron, salt and sorrow
illuvium of life.

Into rivers of you
tiny creatures creeping,
illuvium of life,
I hear them when you’re sleeping.

Tiny creatures creeping,
First from my wide eyes,
I hear them when your’re sleeping:
If we were to sing…

AGG20140305
(for Cutty)

Depth Charge: For those interested in the writing process, the impetus for this poem came from reading the death poem of Bokukei: Cuckoo, I too/Sing, spitting blood/My welling thoughts on page 145 of Japanese Death Poems.

First, I wrote a tanka: If I were to sing/Blood would flow from my eyes/In a final song/A cicada in the heat/ Or some small thing in the trees, but decided instead to expand it to a pantoum, a form recently introduced to me by John Mackenzie.

As I am currently also reading The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers wound its way in there as well.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

A Pantoum Lullaby

A pantoum lullaby by AGG

Even the sea now suffers a change,
In the dark depths sightless monsters stir,
Roused by shifting currents strange and warm,
Acid on their tongues, gasping for breath.

In the dark depths sightless, monsters stir,
Father endless lies as waters rise,
Acid on their tongues, gasping for breath,
Scraping the final pearl from its shell.

Father, endless lies as waters rise
Grow in coral confusion, as we—
Scraping the final pearl from its shell—
Sing our extinguishing lullabies.

Growing choral confusion as we—
Roused by shifting currents strange and warm—
Sing our extinguishing lullabies:
Even the sea now suffers a change.

AGG20140209

Depth Charge: Inspired by the always inspiring John Mackenzie, I have tried my hand at a pantoum, albeit a gloomy one motivated by the predicted mass extinction of ocean life caused by overfishing, acidification caused by global warming, and anoxic dead zones as a result of climate change and pollution. Literary inspirations include Walt Whitman, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as quoted at 2:28 in the Laurie Anderson song, Blue Lagoon

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”