Ramsden

Margaret Avison

copyright ©Margaret Avison, 2002

Let’s go to the park where
the dogs and children
cluster and circle and run
under the sombre old trees – they are
hanging on to their swarthing
leaves – while the young
medallioned trees in the early
sun are dancing
among them.
The knapsacked students too
hurtle, always too late, focused
on there, blindingly
swerving out of the now and
here where children and dogs
and a few rather shabby, slow
old ones, straying, move
across the owners, standing with
loose leashes, intent on “their day.”
The benched but sleepless
mothers and nannies, watching,
are quieted here, warmed and fed
by the good old trees and
the shining little ones.

Notes on the Poem

Let's take a few moments to relish the simple pleasures of Margaret Avison's poem "Ramsden", from her 2003 Griffin Poetry Prize-winning collection Concrete and Wild Carrot. While we're at it, let's enjoy a reading of the poem by Avison herself, generously provided by her publisher, Brick Books. The poem is inspired by and situated in the real world Ramsden Park, which you can find here on the Toronto Poetry Map offered by the Toronto Public Library. In this brief poem, Avison packs in a lot of life and activity, capturing everything from the highly kinetic ... "The knapsacked students too hurtle, always too late, focused on there, blindingly swerving out of the now and here" ... to this fine image of the meditative that we uniquely experience with old canine companions: "slow old ones, straying, move across the owners, standing with loose leashes, intent on "their day."" The contrasting senses of motion Avison presents - slow, fast, deliberate, hasty - exist in tandem beautifully with contrasting representations of age and stages of life, from children and their counterpart young trees to "sombre old trees" and those aforementioned elderly hounds. Perhaps there are more than just simple pleasures at work here.

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