By Pearl Pirie
dedicated to Bearess, Russian Blue
She walked with the smooth imperceptible movement
Of clear midnight, striding from silence to silence,
Hair dipped in moonlight silver the day was her own.
But just when my mind's shadows clouded the sunshine,
She'd appear, her eyes, quills, widening to black moons,
Face buried into my chest. She murmured, bristles softening,
She gave herself over to these arms that still reach for her.
She would settle in, with a warm weighty solid trust that was
Uniquely her own. . .At my touch
Her spine had all the struggling resistance
Of a lover's, a ragdoll, an afghan blanket,
She draped me without a baby's sweaty cling.
She would stay in my arms until she knew
She was no longer needed so much.
Then she'd slide away,
Slipped like a silk shirt off a hanger.
It will come as no surprise to Pearl that I have chosen this particular poem. She knows I'm a cat-lover too; in fact my first cat (not a Russian Blue but a tabby) used to comfort me like this. The poem is from her chapbook Haiku Quiet, one of a series entitled Page Half-Full Poems. Obviously, the name of the book does not mean it is full of actual haiku, though it does contain three, and two senryu. The sub-title explains it as: 'short poems of the inner quiet moment'.
Pearl lives in Ottawa, Canada, so we only know each other online. We met in September 2007 when we both took part in a month of poetry prompts hosted by John Hewitt at his Poewar website, aka Writer's Resource Centre. It was the first time I ever participated in anything like that, and the first time Hewitt hosted it. It was fun and exciting, with a global group of good poets who totally entered into the spirit of it. Pearl astonished us with experimental work, notably an incredible cutup. I have since learned that she is a very diverse poet, not to mention a very original one. She loves to indulge in intricate wordplay, with the emphasis on play, leaving me open-mouthed at its brilliance. Striking as that is, it doesn't wholly define her poetry, which ranges across many moods, styles and poetics.
A prolific poet, she is well-known and very active on the Canadian poetry scene. You can find many links if you Google her, but the most efficient way is to go to her comprehensive and well-organised website via the link on her name, above. You'll find there directions to her poems online and to her books. At the end of the 'Bio' section of her website is a list of her main blogs — not all of them poetry; all of them worth a look.
I will just add that, over the years of reading each other's stuff online, she has become a caring and supportive friend whose opinion I trust.
Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).