Brian Purdy

Brian Purdy Poems

A poem is admission
Of confusion
And being what it is
Excites derision;

Forty years I trudged
And had no answers;
A mind that was at sea
And heart unanchored.

Fewer creeks
blacker starlings
fewer home-made killing-jars

On tin-can creek
where I stayed long
the woodsy mist
made up for wrongs

You slugs, you sloths, you worse
Than insensible things,
Who will not do as is so
Urgently needed - how

As a boy, alone, with a crayon you wrote
On the walls of your room. Now, you wail
Silently, so that others don't hear;
Bellow and moan on the page of your mind

Bring fire-flies to the wedding feast
Cast your spell on the rough-coat beast
In the quiet where the crickets sing
One word changes everything.

Puzzled, I am
By the tepid response
Of those on whom I depended.
Must I walk alone this moonlit path

Half-pint perch in sunlit water
Chase their shadows above the rocks.
A fisherman chews a cigarillo
Light brown in a darkly-golden face.

Probably, they think they have something to say.
How else explain their willingness to display
This welter of misspelled words,
Phrases misapprehended,

Wear a brown hat like a snow-man
Sleep with the dogs in the snow
While the Northern Lights are turning
And the moon tells all she knows.

he has a large nose or a small
appetite a taste for tinned pears
a gold watch a woman in chains
both sides of the coin and you. he

Always at our feet
these pets
obtruding their glowing presence.
When we would kiss

we two are old
pleated by cares
but still can mount
proud passion's stair

'Why? ' is what we want to know,
'do all the stars in heaven glow? '
'Who? ' & 'where? ' & 'what? ' & 'when? '
we ask ourselves - but we are men

That all the universe
Should hear and join in our music
We are given the earth
As instrument

slack-thighed and painted
like a red indian queen
she is enormous in the clearing.
animals come from the forest

Lost in the silent groves of his beard
we pray to the god of this forest:
how is it fair that we wander alone
our sleeves tucked into this cold?

Calhoun, you died, some days ago
Your cousin dropped by and told me so –
But in last night’s dream you died again
Differently named, on a different day.

Hanratty, where in the world have you been?
We looked all over, you ain’t been seen –
Not in the holds with the stevedores;
Not in the hell-holes dotting the shore.

Brian Purdy Biography

Resident: Halifax, N.S. Canada At any given hour: reader, writer, husband, sketch-artist and water-color painter, cyclist, pool-player, coffee-drinker, smoker...)

The Best Poem Of Brian Purdy

A Poem Is

A poem is admission
Of confusion
And being what it is
Excites derision;

Yet those who mock
Will see their words forgotten
While poems alter worlds
And swallow oceans

A poem may be hard
Or it may soften
Such blows as while alive
We meet too often

A poem is a voyage
Of discovery
On which we risk all chance
Of full recovery;

A poem is no display
Of erudition
No learned text that stinks
Of dead tradition

A poem is a brave
And human gesture
Dressed in mage's clothes
But still a jester;

Dispensing with the proverb
And the précis
Prefers its porridge plain
And nothing fancy

On days so blue
They might as well be grey
A poem's what we try
When we can't pray.

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