publishing poetry only

Monday's Poem

Photo by Linnea Stenson

© 2010 Leanne McIntosh

Leanne McIntosh is the author of two books of poetry, The Sound the Sun Makes and Liminal Space and several chapbooks. Her work has appeared in the Glenairley chapbook series edited by Patrick Lane and in a number of literary journals. She also facilitates poetry workshops and was a participant in both Cooked and Eaten Poetry Marathon and Random Acts of Poetry. She lives in Nanaimo, B.C. and is currently working on her third manuscript titled The Habit of Being.



Nothing can spoil this morning.
The Chalk River nuclear reactor is safe
the Prime Minister assures us.

This morning
with its frayed clouds promising wind
offers no hint

which bird's song will be stilled
which will bloom
the gulls lifting from the boat house

giving the human heart flight, too
or at least a leap as high as the barking dog
following the birds over salt-steeped logs.

At the water's edge
rising into the sky, the mainland mountains
twice as blue as usual.


Simply to desire is enough
that unceasing gravitational pull

without project, without goal
that graceful balance of spirit and matter

that entry into today's communion
that yearning for beauty

in the low hill, the wide field
where the tallest cedars rest in the curve of space

where all desire begins in the soft breeze
of a bird's wing kindled in broken dreams

and from air and ash
the trembling aspens make their music.


That I have known rose and blue
the cast of sunrise purple on the mountain.

That I have known barking dogs and raccoons
a nameless brown bird in its tin bucket bath.

That I have touched a snake's shed skin
photographed a ladybug crawling a child's hand.

That I have seen the moon rise as the sun set
caught the brief sharpness of shadows at noon.

That I have felt your presence before the door opened
heard guitar chords in the candle's light

the lotus words of poets rising from the mud.
All this is important.

That I have kept my soul alive
and lived this earth in all its seasons.


This is not a story. It is not an event.

This is verdigris blooming on a weathervane
a yellow plum tree open over the lawn.

This is Oregon grape gone wild
ants in the wood pile, the axe blade

the baby's wooden wagon
left too many nights in the rain.

This is the open kitchen door
one drowsy fly

our breakfast together
the homemade raspberry jam.

This is the girl who refused the hijab.
This is the father who condemned her.

This is the paradox of fire
the truth in the cliché

and everything caught in it
elbows into existence.


Here is what I think.
It's when we are emptied out, used up

emotions rawhide strings
that tension is plucked into song.

It's when thoughts refuse to sort themselves
that they tip like snow globes

covering the landscape with fresh light.
It's when the voice has forgotten its name

that it speaks the mountain's echo.
It's when blackberries advance after a night of rain

bearing both flowers and thorns
the lawn overcome with buttercups

that we are full.


Evening: rain, silence, joy.

This evening
when the earth rolls

water drips
inside the tallest cedars

birds bow their heads
without comment

the sound of rain.


Nothing can spoil this morning. Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude, p. 281
Simply to desire is enough. Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude, p. 295
That I have known the hill town of Cordes … Thomas Merton, Turning Toward the World, p. 148
This is not a story. It is not an event. Thomas Merton, Dancing In the Water of Life, p. 85
Here is what I think. Thomas Merton, When the Trees Say Nothing, p. 44
Evening: rain, silence, joy. Thomas Merton, Turning Toward the World, p. 280