Gabriella Brand is a writer, adventurer, and educational consultant. She can't stop teaching and learning foreign languages. She would like to walk on all the continents (three more to go!). Her husband is extremely patient and her children are, fortunately, all grown up.
The Comstock Review is pretty amazing. They’ve been publishing since 1986, as a non-profit organization, devoted to poets and poetry. I’m honored to have my work appear in their Spring/Summer 2019 issue.
If I’m the one to go first, I’ll try to remember to leave something on the edge of the crevasse, my gloves so you can remember the shape of my hands, a small candy heart, that photo of the two of us by the Swiss lake.
if you are the one who leaves first, how will I continue the climb alone?
Of course I can figure out the poles and crampons, the tricky compass.
The technicalities are not the problem.
will be the absence of footprints, the slap of frost, no warm breath.
Red Wolf Journal recently asked writers to create a poem “borrowed” in theme or language from a famous poem. I’m delighted that they chose my poem”Bedpan for Icarus” which was inspired by W.H. Auden’s work “Musée des Beaux Arts“.
You might recognize the opening lines. But the rest of the work is my own take on his theme. Auden’s poem means a lot to me because I kept reciting it in my head as my mother was dying. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that she passed away long before Dancing With The Stars existed. (She would not have been a fan!)
I’ve long been fascinated by the Canadian painter and writer, Emily Carr. Who wouldn’t admire a woman who went off – in 1898 – by herself – to stay in aboriginal villages in British Columbia? She was a daring Modernist artist, Canada’s answer to Georgia O’Keefe. At the same time, she was a staunch environmentalist before most people knew the word or understood the concept.
Today, Aji Magazine (pronounced Ah-hee) published a poem of mine about this amazing artist in their “Emerald Issue”. http://ajimagazine.com
Brushed: Emily Carr
No one asked her to come. She just came. To Cumshewa,
To Haida Gwaii. To The Islands of the People.
A leather satchel, wrinkled like an old woman’s nose,
stuffed with tubes of pthalo blue, camel hair brushes, old
A dented frying pan, blackened by beans, hung
onto the slope of her horse’s back like a metal tail.
She was there to paint the hidden woods and waters,
to sweep the mines of aqua and marine.
Her arrival stirred the native sons, who narrowed their eyes
and hid behind the virgin firs at her first approach.
But the elders knew sacred when they saw it,
and praised the transparent quiet of the stranger’s step.
At night she bedded down alone on the forest floor
letting wolves speak to her, fauve to fauve.
By day, with hurried strokes, she copied the beryl pond,
the turquoise lakes, the blue-green domes.
Before the loggers slashed, before soapsuds curdled streams,
I’m just back from Montreal where I participated in the launch of My Island, My City, a collection of new work from forty different writers, sponsored by Montreal’s own Lawn Chair Soirée and edited by Jan Jorgensen. I was delighted to have my poem Skatingto China included in this anthology.
If you don’t know Montreal (one of my favorite cities in the world!) you might like a bit of an explanation.
The quick facts are:
1)Montreal is really an island in the huge Saint Lawrence River.
2) Jacques Cartier arrived in the area around 1538 (think about that for a minute!).
3) He was certain that China lay beyond the rapids blocking his further passage. The area south of the city became known as Lachine (China) and still bears that name.
4). Eventually, around 1821, they built a canal to bypass the rapids.
5). You can bike, walk or rollerblade along this now refurbished canal path.
6). It’s really fun to skate to China.
Skating to China
It’s not that hard, even for an old lady with bunions and a bad knee. Bring water. Start at the Vieux Port and just keep going. A few kilometers or so. It’s mostly flat, except for a few dips below the highways. If you’re too chicken to fly downhill, take off your blades and waddle under the Décarie in your SmartWools alone. Cyclists, with their lime green jerseys, will buzz past you like flies. But pay no attention to speed. Put your skates back on again and continue Notice how a city, too, takes its time. Getting rooted, decaying, rising again. See here the graffiti, the crumbling walls, the edge of Montreal unfurling. Then the greenery, the new and tidy condos, the canal reborn. All along, the wild smell of the sea will follow you, floating on the Saint Lawrence like the feather of a gull. There will be wind and boats and birds and all things marvelous, which you might have temporarily forgotten even existed, but now you remember, and you’ll want to hold them inside you, even as you leave them behind. When you arrive in LaChine, remember why it’s called LaChine. Turn around. Skate home
The Alaska Writer Laureate, Peggy Shumaker, provided the poem prompt for the spring issue of Willawaw. The prompt was Parenthood, Unplanned. I’m honored that two of my poems, Edelweiss, and Nest, appear in this issue.
This is a beautiful collection of writing about disasters, refugees, loss. I find it both uplifting and inspiring. I’m honored to have one of my poems included in the latest edition. Please click below:
You might also like to check out the CHARTER FOR COMPASSION with which this anthology is affiliated. This is a document which urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion, inspired by Karen Armstrong, the writer and religious scholar.http://www/charterforcompassion.org It is available in thirty languages and embraces forty-five countries around the world.