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  • Ontario Creates
  • Ontario Arts Council
  • Canada Council for the Arts

On a Night Never Seen

From Brick 112

Sweep up your shadow

But you can’t turn back.

There is no other way

Through the black glens

Or the lens of an eye.

A keeping, a stride,

Into episodes that arise.


The interior egg

Until cracked open

To stars some million

Beats away.

How did the chick

With thanks to God

Get yellow in the night

Of its oval chamber.

The fire of its colour

Was not a colour yet.

Now a green grenade

Is tossed on the mighty Shannon floor.

Ahead of its invention, before its time.

I would like an answer

To my answer. I would like more Gods

Than one. In a nutshell

More songs.

I am standing on the Wild Atlantic Way.

My back to the land.

Why is why is my favourite rhyme.

But a child’s word is a rarity

Unless shot down.

Why does an eye evolve in the dark?

Roll back the future perhaps

Of curiosity.

Which comes first?

My daughter is in Derry

Before she has left Letterkenny

To get there.

I am hearing her

Like a bell of war.

The gong belongs

To an idea of a perfect being

Sitting on the rock

Of its own vault

While its funeral is finishing.

Sound preceding the wind.

Song following the iambic.

I feel you, I feel you coming

Seekers are born in disguise

As shepherds wear cloth

To cover their loins.

More comfortable than tight pants

And glorious as signs

Of the soul naked and alone.

A runaway from home.


Fanny Howe has lived many lives and returned to the first, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lucky to have lived during the sixties and through times of turmoil and translation, Howe has seen women poets prevail and now their children.

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