is the author of The Fifth Window, A Tunisian Notebook, House Built of Rain (BC Book Prize finalist), The Human Shore, and Birds, Metals, Stones & Rain (Governor General's Award finalist). His poems have been appeared in many anthologies, among them Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems and Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012.
Monday, October 11, 2010
from A TUNISIAN NOTEBOOK
We look out a train window -- on the way south.
Are those olive trees?
Oh yes. Oil from the fruit of their ancestors
lit the lamps of the ancient world. Floated flames
to keep away the evil eye. Those silvery lights
that flit around the leaves -- were gods and goddesses.
Last night, small bluish black olives on our plates --
the fruit soft and bitter, and irresistible.
You glimpse the new, unripe ones, small,
and still hard and green, shy-seeming,
but which will be ripe, be one of the different kinds of joy,
the way a love will have been a long fast,
then a feast made from a glimpse-beginning, a flitting --
be the dark, sharp-rich fruit. Here are the trees.