spring pulseSpring Pulse Poetry Festival poetry festival

Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest 2015

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First Place: Memory is Strong by Alexandra Gilbert

In silence. Memory is strong
Beyond the bone. Pride snapped,
Shadow of pride is long, in the long pass,
no concurrence of bone.

  • T. S. Eliot, Rannoch, near Glencoe

A few miles south of the Arctic Circle
we glide onto the wide Mackenzie,
pull the canoe onto the grating pebble beach
in silence. Memory is strong

suddenly: weeks of racing currents,
endless, roaming daylight, dusky midnight
hours end. I am tired to the bone,
beyond the bone. Pride snapped

a long time ago — six weeks since
the canoe overturned, soaked canvas
packs strewn in shallow, icy water.
Shadow of pride is long, in the long pass,

the four-day portage across the watershed,
unknown to any except bears, the moose
whose antler I found half-buried in moss:
no concurrence of bone.

  • Northwest Territories, 1993

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