George Bowering


Griffin Poetry Prize 2005
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Changing on the Fly

Poet: George Bowering

Publisher: Polestar Book Publishers/Raincoast Books

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

George Bowering reads Pale Blue Cover

Pale Blue Cover, by George Bowering

Pale Blue Cover

In the middle of the night Matt would fly to Vancouver so
he could take a walk on the sea wall the next day, then
go home.
Wouldn’t tell anyone, no telephone call, just run a scene
through his peculiar Ontario head, no snow on that
No one can imagine Matt teaching religion at McMaster,
Matt eyeing math in a Bay Street shop window.
Here’s the man expecting every book to be break-
through to best seller Toronto, Spanish doctors
couldn’t even do it.
English patients could do it, Spanish doctors, get out of
town. Spanish girls, you can forget it.
Matt was planning to write a hundred novels, line them up
like matched jewelry, strike a shovel into the heart of
bony Canada.
Mix a metaphor, wrestle a fish in a northern river, propel
prose like nobody’s business, business had nothing to
do with it.
In the middle of the day Cohen was a wry anglo saxon
typing on a rocky farm, two thousand words before
Remain wry, people like me catch you lost in thought down
there at the other end of the table, face turned to the
corner with imagination in it.
We remind ourselves of this undreamable sephardic rock
agriculturalist, shovel bouncing off some kind of
precambrian anapest.
He really thought he could get across Canada, get over the
twentieth century, pick the whole country up and turn
it over.
No one will ever know what he was thinking on the red-eye,
patriot satyr grin on his lip.

From Changing on the Fly, by George Bowering
Copyright © 2004 by George Bowering

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