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Saturday, March 16, 2013

no I do not love you

at Amelasburgh library, thanks Eurithe
Al was a man's man, it's said, and it's obvious in the person he reveals so completely in the autobiography 'Reaching for the Beaufort Sea'. A muscular poet, with pugnacious poems. I have heard him referred to as misogynist. He was a man of his times - with Ridley Purdy as a boyhood model.

Then there's that sensitive man creeping in. I appreciate his respectful correspondence with many women writers, his self-deprecating observations.

Of Eurithe, the emotional centre for his long writing life, not enough can ever be said. Grudgingly, it almost seems, he acknowledges her constancy, her practicality, her strength, her wisdom. But he was in awe of it, I do believe. She admits with a smile that  he hated it when she was right.

I won't ask. Only she knows. And that's enough. That doughty intelligent woman to whom so much of Canada's best poetry was dedicated.

I let the poems tell me. As in the wonderful 'The Horseman of Agawa' account of their meeting with ancient  first nations rock paintings on the edge of mighty Superior:

"I just watch my wife's face
she is quiet as she generally is because I do most of the talking
it is forty years old and has felt the pain of children
the pettiness of day-to-day living and getting thousands of meals
but standing on the rock face of Lake Superior
it is not lessened in any way
with a stillness of depth that reaches where I can't follow..."

Love. Not stated, but recorded. For Eurithe, On the Intelligence of Women, The Horseman of Agawa, The Double Shadow, Necropsy of Love, so many others.

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