Friday, May 25, 2007

Pat Lowther


Before the wreckers come,
Uproot the lily
From the hard angle of earth
By the house.
Crouch by the latticed understairs
Rubbish and neglect
(The sudden lightning
Of sun
On your back
Between the opening
And shutting
Of the March-blown clothesline,
Rise and fall of the swift light
Like blows.)
Here a lifetime's
Slimy soapsuds
Curdle the earth,
In this corner
Under the stairs,
But have not killed
The woodbugs
Nor the moths' pupae
Which brush your fingers
As you dig
For the round, rich root,
The lily root
Which has somehow, senselessly,
Not been killed either
But has grown every year
An astonished babyhood,
An eye-struck Easter.
Pack it among the photographs,
The silver polish,
And the last laundry
Which will not again
Lift and shutter
For the shattering sun.
Mark its container: X
Two intersecting lines,
A lattice point
Of time
And the years' seasons.

Before the wreckers come,
Carry away
The lightning-bulb of sun.
From: Time Capsule, Polestar 1996, p.201.


1, the fear
the fear is of everything
staying the way it is
and only i changing

the fear is
of everything changing
and i staying the same

the world expanding
branch tunnel cell
more and more
precious and terrible

while i grow only more
fragile and confused

the fear is my own
hands beating
like moths

my eyelids stuttering
light breaking into
meaningless phrases

the fear is of you
patiently elsewhere growing
a blood shape
of all my wishes

2, i am tired

i am tired of pain
i am tired of my own pain
i am tired of
the pain of others

i am tired of lives
unwinding like a roll
of bloody bandage
i shall roll up
the sky, pinch the sun

i go out to the cliff pours
of stars, the tall
volumes of stars

i go down
to the grains of soil
to bacteria
to viruses
to the neat mechanics of molecules

to escape the pain
to escape the pain

3, what i want

what i want is to be blessed
what i want is a cloak of air

the light entering my lungs
my love entering my body
the blessing descending
like the sky
sliding down the spectrum

what i want is to be
aware of the spaces between stars, to breathe
continuously the sources of sky,
a veined sail moving,
my love never setting
foot to the dark
anvil of earth

From: Time Capsule, Polestar :1996, p. 242

Pat Lowther, born in 1935 in British Columbia, was once described by fellow poet Anne Marriott as “a poet with an unusual power of perceiving and interpreting small things.” By the age of ten, Lowther was a published poet, her work having appeared in the Vancouver Sun. Her first collection, This Difficult Flowring, was published in 1968, and four more collections followed in the next nine years. In 1974, Lowther became the first chairwoman of the League of Canadian Poets. Lowther disappeared in 1975, and in 1977, her husband, Roy Lowther, was charged with her murder. Many of her fellow poets wrote tributes to Lowther on her death, including Elizabeth Brewster's “For Pat Lowther.” In 1980, the Pat Lowther Award was established by the League of Canadian Poets; this prize is awarded annually to a Canadian woman poet for a best new collection.


Brian Campbell said...

Thanks for these poems.

Nick said...

She was taken from us too soon.

Song of Ruth House said...

Beautiful. Well done. I enjoyed reading this, thank you.
(I'm Ruth Lowther, Pat's stepdaughter, and daughter of Roy, her assinine killer.)

Song of Ruth House said...

Beautiful. Well done. I enjoyed reading this, thank you.
(I'm Ruth Lowther, Pat's stepdaughter, and daughter of Roy, her assinine killer.)