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Poetry Friday: "Minus 20" by Gary Geddes

Flying Blind, Gary Geddes, Goose Lane Editions, 1998We have a dual purpose behind our choice for today's Poetry Friday entry. The first, of course, is as celebration of Canadian poet Gary Geddes' recent win of the 2018 Freedom to Read Award. Geddes has written/edited over 40 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction — including, of course, his six collections with Goose Lane — and this recognition of a body of work that promotes free expression is another feather in a cap very much laden with them.

Secondly: while much of his 1998 collection Flying Blind is a poetic treatise on Israeli-Palestinian relations, we're more concerned with another of his poems, one that has much more in common with our current situation, viz.: we at Goose Lane find ourselves trapped in yet another Atlantic Canada blizzard.  

With that all said, let us take a moment, sit back, and let Gary Geddes guide us through the storm.

Minus 20 

ThermometerThe stove is damped so air constricted
whistles in the draft and metal casings creak
as they expand. Jays impatient and aggressive
at the feeder. Me, too, I'm on survival mode,

consume more carbohydrates than I need.
My body, slow, impolitic, resists
the old imperatives. I'll ski the back trail
yet, if temperatures permit. The crippled

cedars, permanently bent from wrapping
round a fallen maple as they grew, now
form a bold menorah that lights my spirit
as I pass. Meanwhile the cold dictates,

decrees this lethargy, the slow combustion
holding back an ice age in the blood.


cold Gary Geddes Poems Poetry Friday

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