Geomantic riposte: 'Here Is Where We Disembark'

Clea Roberts lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, on the Takhini River. Her first book of poetry, Here Is Where We Disembark was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award, the ReLit Award and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. Roberts is recognizable for her many efforts to encourage Canada’s poetry scene, and particularly for those she has concentrated on the Whitehorse Poetry Festival. Here Is Where We Disembark is divided into two sections, with the first comprising lyrics on life in the Yukon and northern British Columbia and the second focussing on the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 19th century. As Barbara Colebrook indicates in The Malahat Review, “The ethos of Roberts’ writing is ecological, taking only what is needful, retrieving more from less. Survival is a major theme, but there is a transcending joy and beauty in these poems. Throughout the work, the poet holds the tension between the small edge of human settlements ... and the vastness of the terrain.

Here Is Where We Disembark by Clea Roberts (Freehand Books, 2010, Page 55)


And the stand of poplar

fenced against the beaver—

its leaves shimmer and click

as if in applause.


At solstice we clomp onto the deck

drink retsina and watch the sky

like a dog doing improbable tricks.


The backwards flip, the tap dance,

the spontaneous operatic, all more believable

than the myth of night.


Geomantic Riposte: Backwards


The longest day in recorded history did not

belong to us       say, do Phoenicians ever get mal

de débarquement     or was that you there in spirit    Tosca

è un buon falco     the server was a sculptress    a furtive

word with Jane blossomed into abandoned cave stains     petro-

glyphs    hey, maybe I can Google your window on Jarvis

and still see you working      il sole allegramente

batte ai tuoi vetri       that’s how to operate     leaving

operatic traces     moving from town to town     positively

gastropodic    those psychical trails   then  the te deum was

ringing for Puccini in Lucca    busy   dropping into

Miles Canyon would not be the most poetic end

like that time Tosca had a big trampoline

nor in mid-combat with seasonal affect

but we never watched the sun

NOT set together, not once