On My Neighbour’s Removal Of A Beautiful Tree

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

that spoiled his view of the ocean:
the tree had the last word,
ending its considerable life
with the Chekhovian grin
of a hole in the ground
that shouted and shouted
until my neighbour
running, heard.

Here’s the only poem I have not yet posted from my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press or Amazon.ca or Amazon.com.

Fishing Lodge, Hakai Pass

Lynne Burnett OrderGX47A3NT2C_0476

Early morning
with the precision of birds
the fishermen go out,
slickered and keen-eyed,
hands on the rudder
of the rest of their lives.

Every day, kings
and drama queens get
pulled from their kingdoms,
gasp against fiberglass,
get bonked on the head,
don’t know what hit them.

Early evening, the beaten
and the just plain beat
line up on the long dock
until the last rod-wrestler
weighs in with his picture
perfect catch,

hanging from
that stainless steel hook
a stilled, still shining body
whose open eyes stare back
from a height never imagined.
Sweet Jesus, Jack!

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press

or Amazon.com or Amazon.caThe photo above is of the original lodge there. It is now

the site of an ecological observatory and marine field research. You can read more

about its new purpose here

Seal Pup, Homfray Channel

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Photo by Kace Rodriguez on Unsplash

A searing yowl from the rocky shore.
Again. Again. Stops all conversation
in the dinghy and we motor closer.
A lone seagull is waiting for its prize,
flanked by a dozen seals draped over
the surrounding rocks. The gull flies off
at our approach and the seals slip frantically
from their posts into the murmurring sea,
leaving one black cigar shape well above the tideline
still breathing in the bright promise of another day:

it’s a seal pup, eyes oozing oceans
of green and yellow pus. He lifts a flipper
as I tip a bucket of saltwater gently over him
and then, lips curling, sausages himself
between two rocks. I try pouring the water
over the rocks to drip down on him but
unable to wriggle any further away,
he turns his head, teeth bared.
There’ll be no mothering for this
fast-aging, whiskered face:

he will live unassisted
until the life he was given is taken back,
until the blazing August light becomes a second skin
and the lapping sounds of rising water carry him
off into the salmon-glinting sea of his birth,
until death, not taken from him,
death is all his,
rendering the blurred shapes that swam
once beside him—nothing more
than an unfinished dream.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here

Guy Climbs Mount Lafayette Feb. 6, 2000

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Unlike other guys
who reach a mountaintop and leave with it, move it
under the hut of the body
so they can breathe its rare air at will,
see themselves later through anything,

Guy Waterman got stuck on one craggy point
that jagged heaven: it put the bit in his mouth
he could speak to God only there,
called it his kind of prayer. And so his rosary
of left foot, right foot began, decades
of climbing the same mountain, breaking
out of the fog and cloud into a brilliance
of mind and sky. Each time harder to take
lucky boots and crampons off, wear ordinary
shoes: where they tread, a son leaves, is
never seen or heard from again; others die.

Each son lost thickening the Gordian
knot of unspeakable sorrow. How possibly
deter him from wanting to freeze in time
a transcendent moment of no return?
Love stayed his wife: at home, knowing.
Praying for a below zero night. And so
he stepped onto the Old Bridle Path,
nodding his last hello at Agony Ridge,
a few hikers headed down before the sun set.
Had a canteen half-water, half-alcohol.
Had a wind that took his breath away.

Not turning back, instead turning his back
on this world, he struck his father’s
wooden alpenstock into the ice five feet
off the trail and curled up beside it,
placing a period where the small comma
of his body would be seen. Three days passed
before friends muscled him down on a stretcher
for what felt like forever. Finally was.

This poem was a finalist in IthacaLit’s 2015 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Contest and is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, available for purchase through Finishing Line Press here  or Amazon hereI came across the story of Guy Waterman’s life accidentally and was moved to write this poem; he was an accomplished author with a complicated life. For those interested, here’s a link to his story: A Natural Death

Irreplaceable

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My father had the good fortune
to be visited by six women
last Friday: Carol came to clean
his house, do laundry, get the mail,
Sue to bathe him, then cook lunch
and dinner, Ann to cut his gnarly
toe nails and massage his feet, Barb—
a nurse—to check his vitals, Louise
to tame his dead wife’s garden, and
Lynne, his daughter from three thousand
miles away, to make sure he was okay.

The door kept opening, we came
and went, and the golden October
light wandered from room to room,
like us, not in a hurry to leave. And he
glowed with the attention, feasting on
a cornucopia of witty conversation
through the rise and fall of our busy hands,
we, the chance wives of widower row.
But come darkness across the sheets
of his bed, we were all forgotten as he
patted the spot beside him, whispering
“Night-night, love”—as he always had—
to the irreplaceable one.

This poem, first published in Calyx Journal, is in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, just out and available from Finishing Line Press here and also available for purchase from Amazon here. Any customer reviews are especially appreciated on either site!

Legacy

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Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

At the dinner party, eleven people,
not twelve.
A striking redhead, warmly smiling—
the one whose world had recently halved.
Those of us who didn’t know
wouldn’t have known.

I’m used to death
ringing a bell that won’t stop
singing of loss as love’s
forgotten child—a call to mass
sung down the long corridors
of bone.

The mouth that can hush it
speaks to me
of a love built brick by brick,
circling a great and dangerous fire,
holding that heat
like a hand to the heart
when only ash is left.

Has lips full of secret amens,
stretching a smile beyond
mere courtesy, until it cracks
me open, I who have not
yet travelled that road
or those blurred miles from home.

Night falls before we know it:
death has a thing for a man about
to retire. Like a virus, it jumps
from acquaintance to friend to kin,
no sympathy for women and children.
Taking on mass and weight, given

a name, it terribly crowds a room.
This being human—to matter.
Through our bodies. Past them.
Her smile all I can see
of love’s fierce alchemy—bright
crack of light escaping a closed door.

Another poem from my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here and from Amazon here

 

Irresistible

“Bride Drowns While Modelling Wedding Gown Near Rawdon”
CTV News Montreal – Aug. 24, 2012

First a coquettish dip of toes in the shallows, then a saucy
wade, the mud bottom making it easy to balance.

The Oureau River glinting, hurrying out of sight. Just Maria
and the photographer, before she consigned the dress to a box.

What next but to lift her veil, unmoor a few minds?—
swim a little, where it was deeper…not knowing

how thirsty that dress was: how it would drink and drink
and drink, until its weight was unbearable,

no Houdini to hold open the elevator door long enough
to uncuff her from all the snug finery, the lacy squeeze

of her lungs, irresistible pull to the river’s bed.
How her heart surely sank before she did, gonging

regret and betrayal. Sounds like a Stephen King story—
a gown with vows of its own. No, the horror’s more

the slippery ease with which vanity slides under our skin,
looks in the mirror, one way or another does us in.

This is the title poem from my new chapbook – just out from Finishing Line Press hooray! https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/. If you’d like a copy and don’t use this link and search instead, best to search the bookstore under the title “Irresistible”.

It is now also available on Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/IRRESISTIBLE-Lynne-Burnett/dp/1635344425/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523920109&sr=1-1&keywords=lynne+burnett . If you don’t use this link and search instead, it’s the opposite – there are so many books with “my” title, it’s best to search by my name.

Customer reviews are most welcome and greatly appreciated on both sites, should you be so inclined! Many thanks for reading, and more poems to come!

This Water Knows

Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash

Below this whale song of waves: the fin-happy,
sounding through all the dumb canyons
of the sea, coloured crayon-bright in the dark
flooded basement of the earth, shadow-drifted
across aqueous meadows prismed with light,
blending with gray rock and white sand,
knobby coral and long swishy green,
ferned and prickled, smoothed and elongated,
troubled hard, dense, small

but here, and free—
the mute-mouthed, mandibled hungry
and the hunted—to a grotto-chased,
honorable death. Or those given eyes
to see the dangling hook, the silver
door swinging shut before it’s too late.
Those at least, weapons in the hand.
Not a cavernous ground zero.
Not here.

But this water knows, in its reach, how
my bikini got its name. Makes me think
of dreams I barely had, so quickly did they
sink from sight, but whose notes floated
long after, as if there was something
I could yet retrieve. In a tidal lullabye
of voices I cannot hear, the many mouths
of the sea open and close, open and close
lips I cannot read.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Like to read more? Pre-orders (upon which the print run is based) end soon – January 12th!  May this new year be as exciting for you as it is for me!

Such A Blue

Photo by Danilo Batista on Unsplash

I sit down beside my elderly father,
quietly clasp his hand, cross
and then uncross my legs.
Long flight to get here, long
battle with emphysema and
an overworked heart for him.
The hospital door that swings
both ways for me, obdurately
keeps a good soldier in.

Not close enough, this chair,
and impossible for us to hug,
dear dad tied down—
tubes coming and going.
All a man can do to break free
is look out the window,
so I do too, and with him
simply breathe in the blue
of a cloudless sky,

“scattered light,” science says,
that our eyes make into
an unrippled sea—but
there’s never been such a blue
falling through me, so endless
a promise of more
slowly it fills the room,
steadies the listing boat
neaped on a perilous shore.

This poem is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March, 2018, and available for pre-order  here until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, my thanks to all who take a leap of faith and buy my book!

 

 

 

Hunter and Ziggy,

Photo by Ken Reid on Unsplash

a rascally lab-shepherd
and grumpy old cat
didn’t much like each other;
both bristled to share
the same family,
same house.

After the fire,
finding them:
curled up –
for the first time,
together
under the upstairs rug,

the cat that couldn’t
swat death away,
gathered into
the dog’s clumsy paws.

Photo by Cat Mapper (Max Ogden) on Unsplash

These few lines pretty much describe the real Hunter and Ziggy and noonday electrical fire when their family was out. It’s included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available now for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

As pre-sales determine the pressrun, early ordering makes a huge difference and is much appreciated! Many thanks to those who’ve already found this opportunity “irresistible”!