Today's book of poetry: Dark Matter. Leanne McIntosh with Jack Sproule. Leaf Press. Lantzville, British Columbia. 2013.
I am fixated on the paradigm shift and I tend to look for it in almost everything.
These poems are a call and response, a soloist and an accompanying chorus. Dark Matter by Leanne McIntosh is a civilized conversation between two human beings, deeply personal and instantly universal.
Using bits of philosophy, thoughts on religion, musings on mankind's fate and purpose from her long time friend and former Catholic priest, Jack Sproule, McIntosh has framed her missive as response in consideration to Sproule, prodding at her heart, soul and mind. The poems are McIntosh's, Sproule's contribution appears in italics beneath each poem.
The future presses against the present
and we are nested somewhere
between birdsong and the firefly's cold light,
between roots exposed and rocks still tumbling,
And we are the river flowing through.
A hum poised to bloom,
the honey sweetened untouched until
the sound of bees is heard.
We are pollen's shadow on the wind
before the poppy claims its colour.
We are the mouth and apple.
Each shaped by the other.
We are the knife that cuts from dark matter
the golden light of the cat's eyes.
We are kin and what happens in one person
will penetrate what happens in another.
Who can know this and remain calm?
This new consciousness that I believe is emerging cannot be
conveyed except by experiencing the connections, the relationships,
in short, the community
McIntosh has two previous books of poetry under her belt: The Sound the Sun Makes and Liminal Space. If they have the same sort of passive wisdom, unobtrusive truths, scattered through them, they will be worth searching out. If you are reading this and have published them - please send them to me.
As art begun in a wound.
As a blossom pressed in a book.
As water rushing to the wellhead.
As a animal,
a stranger sitting in your chair.
As names rising from a pyre
flying out from the mouth
Thus, the marginalized present themselves, choose themselves, set
their own priorities, organize themselves, choose their own words,
articulate for themselves what needs to happen and decide how
they will insert themselves.
This conversation, between Leanne McIntosh and Jack Sproule, covers all manner of sin, from the war we each conduct with ourselves, with our hearts, to the war in Afghanistan.
At Jean Talon Market
while I wait at the counter
to buy hallal slaughtered lamb
the war in Afghanistan is extended.
A war where a soldier's life is bargained
so a girl can go to school,
and mourning prayers are counted
on beads or wheels or foreheads.
A war where martyrs explode
the truth of their lives next to
women buying bread and figs.
Women who curl around children
at the first percussive rush of air
as though their bodies
were second wombs and a child
could be reborn in Brandon or London,
the bloodletting painless,
all brain messages stopped,
the convulsing world falling.
Our humanity is endowed in its core with a sense of the ultimate -
the divine as well as the demonic!
Leanne McIntosh's deeply considered Dark Matter is rich in its' genuine humanity, the desire to find basic goodness. This earnestness often overrides melody in poetry but McIntosh has escaped that dangerous territory with aplomb. These poems never feel heavy in weight, only in significance. McIntosh is never trite and gives Jack Sproule and his deep thoughts all the seriousness and gravitas that they deserve.
Leanne McIntosh is a founding member of The Island Women's Poets and resides in Nanaimo, British Columbia.