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poems with legs

Various poems of mine that have already been published in a marvelous

obscure journal or won a wonderful little prize can be read right here.


I love light. I wrote about complementarity, which refers to two theories of light, as particles and as waves. Properties of physical entities exist in pairs, although particle and wave cannot be observed at the same time. Sometimes light behaves like a particle, sometimes like a wave. Wave-particle duality also applies to you. The behavior of particles and waves is awesome because their interactions cannot be distinguished from what is used to measure them.

    complementarity emerges


so I thought I was like that piece of grit

that fool’s gold in a bit of light

in a creek where fish now no fish

could swim across the road by headlight

anyway a stone or secret geode

so hard to crack and sparkling at starlight

since edges even around a fleck

mean I’m here I’m here it’s daylight

outlined in pink a pebble in my shoe

makes me step flinch step to a strobelight

of pain and wee specks of glass

sharp and transparent in sunlight

while diamonds are forever windows melt

dripping glass like wax in candlelight

or asphalt rainbows on oil puddles

where he’s caught by flashlight

and pinned down til his spirit leaks

his name out in neon light

orange and red and water colours

a flash of Turner painting at twilight

and seaside swells of jellyfish

in bioluminescent light

glowing algae on a Fiji beach

drifts of iridescent light

radiating waves of plankton and me

surging with luciferin in moonlight

              in "Duality" journal, 2023

Fiona Tinwei Lam, the Poet Laureate of Vancouver, created a wide-reaching City Poem contest in 2022 to promote poetry about Vancouver. My poem “Stanley Park Fir” was shortlisted. The City of Vancouver made Stanley Park into a public park in 1888. Before that, Coast Salish people were living in it for more than 3000 years. And before that, and beyond that, the trees were relating to each other and their environment. The tallest tree in Vancouver is in Stanley Park; it’s a Douglas Fir that is 63.6 metres, as tall as a 16-storey building.

Stanley Park Fir


Aiming up, so far

above you, we are

in the sky, loving

light, we align leaves

precisely for sun,

aspire to be one

evergrowing swirl

galaxy of green,

arms up spiraling,

cumulus tickling,

ant-flavoured needles,

secret undersides:

narrow stripes of white,

our reserve of light

in the rain forest.

We are your mothers.

Eagles understand

how to be a friend

of wind, we’re dancing,

risking death - a storm?

we ride it. Each mouse

gets a shaggy cone,

each squirrel its seeds.

We are your mothers.

Raccoons and humans –

could they be conscious?

Not only rootless,

unaware of roots

right below their feet.

We are your mothers.

Close to our lovers,

those cedars you carve,

amid splashy ferns

horsetail cavorts here

in season, we trees

have had centuries.

We accumulate

the honour of age

from thin supple skin

to thick reptilian.

Groins itching with voles,

sap-sucking aphids,

carbuncles, bruises,

when the crown teases

lightning we drop limbs,

live in cambium.

A scarf of soft moss

for cold, resinous

icicles glisten

on clingy lichen.

We are your mothers.

Distant skyscrapers

transparent cells, tall

rigid forms will fall,

put a plant on top.

So you want to walk

inside on wood; talk

about afterlife.

We are your mothers.

Research into the amazing connections and community among trees in BC, especially the Douglas Fir, was published by Dr. Suzanne Simard at the University of British Columbia. In 2015 she started the Mother Tree project. I love the trees in Stanley Park in Vancouver and I wrote my poem “Stanley Park Fir”. In 2021 she published her New York Times bestseller “Finding the Mother Tree”. Her idea is that trees are literally networking with each other below the ground. They are in a network of mycorrhizal fungus, of tiny threads all over the forest floor. It’s an exchange - trees give sugars to the fungus, and the fungus gives nutrients in the soil to the trees. Through the network, trees are giving chemical signals to each other. And these are the same kind of signals as human neurotransmitters!  Douglas Fir trees have kin recognition: that means they send more carbon and nutrients to help other Douglas Fir trees than to other types of trees. In other words, the Mother Tree is feeding her seedlings. Those small trees grow much better if they are linked in to the network, and the Mother Tree is still there. You could say that this tree is aware of itself, of its growth, and its interconnectedness with others.

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