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Irving Layton by Request

Monday, January 09, 2006

He holds meaning for me,
Even my husband did not know
Full explanation is elusive.
But the words, the swirls of emotion
And passion of learning.
Swept through me. So few could reach
The closets of my heart.

But, now for some real poetry, Canadian style. Irving Layton (from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s) was the most popular and most controversial poet in Canada. I have selected two, non-controversial ones from A Wild Peculiar Joy:


Who is that in the tall grasses singing
By herself, near the water?
I can not see her
But can it be her
Than whom the grasses so tall
Are taller,
My daughter,
My lovely daughter?

Who is that in the tall grasses running
Beside her, near the water?
She can not see there
Time that pursued her
In the deep grasses so fast
And faster
And caught her,
My foolish daughter.

What is the wind in the fair grass saying
Like a verse, near the water?
Saviours that over
All things have power
Make Time himself grow kind
And kinder
That sought her,
My little daughter.

Who is that at the close of the summer
Near the deep lake? Who wrought her
Comely and slender?
Time but attends and befriends her
Than whom the grasses though tall
Are not taller,
My daughter,
My gentle daughter.


By walking I found out
Where I was going.

By intensely hating, how to love.
By loving, whom and what to love.

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.

Out of infirmity, I have built strength.
Out of untruth, truth.
From hypocrisy, I wove directness.

Almost now I know who I am.
Almost I have the boldness to be that man.

Another step.
And I shall be where I started from.

There are 316 more in this compilation. So how can two be representative? They're not.

  1. Blogger Chloe said:

    so lovely.i am listening to a nice song too, and this did it for me!
    And Cathy, since you've been reading such splendid books, please make a list and post it for eternity and don't just mention one each week. It's easier for me to place a bulk order in Amazon!

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    You make me laugh. I Love to make lsits of things, so this will be a fun one. Might not be until the weekend, but it shall come. I would love to know your essential list as well, although you've written some already.
    Love to you, my friend.

  1. Blogger Jase said:

    Thanks for the poetry Cathy.
    Please add "Tuesdays with Morrie" to the reading list for your readers.

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    Have you read my previous posts on Morrie? This is one of my top 5 favourite books of all time.
    What are yours?

  1. Blogger Gurgo said:

    The poetry is lovely! thanks!
    I love his style of writing!

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