Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Poem for a Hard Time by Lorna Crozier

in a shed with screens to let in air,
a small door for them
to step in and out, not an inch
to spare. All things

in their place, particular,
the proper attention paid
so that around them
there seems a kinder light.

And then the eggs to gather,
one by one, warm in your palm.
Each tiny sun contained,
unbroken, no need for it to rise
or fall, no need for anything
to harm  you.

Lorna Crozier is a Canadian poet whose work has won numerous awards, including Governor General's Award, the Pat Lowther Poetry Award and the Canadian Authors Association. She has published twelve previous books of poetry, including a collection of selected poems, The Blue Hour of the Day. In 2009, Crozier published a memoir, Small Beneath the Sky about which Ursula le Guin said, “How rare such honesty is, and how hard-won, and radiant, and beautiful.” She has a new collection appearing in March this year, Small Mechanics.

During my year of memorising poems, 'Poem for a Hard Time' was one I memorised and it became one of my talismanic poems.  I love its crafted simplicity and the invitation to focus on small, manageable things.

You can read more about Lorna Crozier on her website.

'Poem for a Hard Time', Whetstone, McCelland and Stewart, 2005 was published here with permission. 

Catherine Bateson is this week's Tuesday Poem Guest Editor. She is an Australian poet and children's writer who has published three collections of poetry, three verse novels for young adults and numerous novels for younger readers. She teaches Professional Writing and Editing at GippsTAFE.


Helen Lowe said...

I like the simplicity of this poem, the way it begins by being very 'grounded' with the chickens in their coop and moves to something smaller, the egg, which contains an idea within its smallness that is much larger. A great Tuesday Poem--and as so often, I discover yet another previously unknown poet, this time, Lorna Crozier.

Mary McCallum said...

I admire the careful control of this poem like the world of the chickens in the screened shed without natural air, without the sun rising and falling - without 'harm'. It lulls us, makes us think - almost - that this is ok - a chicken safe in the shed, a 'safe' egg which will not harm the chicken in the bearing of it, the eater in the eating. And the shift at the end to 'you' - we, the stupidly unharmed - like a pointing finger saying 'look', 'think'. Thanks for this Catherine, Lorna. Wonderful to have a Canadian poet at the hub at the hands of an Aussie!

Harvey Molloy said...

There's just so much suggested by the poem: I think of the white space of the hard time that sits in the background to the action. I think that the hand surrounding the egg is a little like this space. Like Frost at his best the poem allows these sorts of speculations. A wonderful poem.

susan t. landry said...

yes; as much as i wanted to run out, run somewhere, to find a warm egg to hold in my hand, i knew exactly the feel from this poem...
deceptively plain, clear.
thank you!