Friday, August 10, 2012

I Wish I'd Written This

Independent Souls

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).


  1. Rosemary, I enjoyed this article and learning more about the poet Pearl Pirie. Loved the poem of hers you shared.

    1. Yes, in writing abut this one cat and their relationship, she captures catnesss. I love every word of it, particularly the poignancy of, 'these arms that still reach for her'.

  2. Thanks, Rosemary , for introducing me to this talented and prolific Canadian poet I had not heard about. She has made an amazing stir for one still so young. I'm so glad her talent has been recognized. I always enjoy your Friday poet series, and really enjoyed hearing about a Canadian poet. Thanks, kiddo!

    1. I'm glad, Sherry, She's worth knowing about! I love that her work is never predictable. I once said of it, in another context: '"She’s quirky, humorous, compassionate, clear-seeing, and she always finds the most interesting conjunctions of words to convey an essence.'

  3. Thank you Rosemary - what a delight to meet Pearl Pirie ( and no, not only because it is unusual to meet another Pearl out there!). Your description of her as a poet quoted from "another context" above it a poem in itself - Pearl Pirie's poem here so delicious and silky it has my arms reaching out for more! Thanks again - will be seeking out Pearl with eager anticipation. Welcome Pearl - hope to see more of you here - will seek you out where you "live" :)

  4. Glad to encounter Pearl here in a poem quite unlike most of her work that I know, because I have seen much more of her experimental and word play poems than this style. I love this. Pearl has caught the essence of catness, (borrowing Rosemary's word)indeed.

    I happen to know Pearl in her 3-D persona, as we both call the Ottawa area home, and I love her quirkiness and the risks she takes in her poems. And she is a generous person with her time and her knowledge, so it is good to see her recognized, too!



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