Category Archives: News

Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes on World Music Day

It’s music day every day in my household, thanks to my wife Mary Lee Bragg.

This poem appears in the new Community anthology from Gertrude’s Writing Room.

Satie’s Gnossiennes

Day one of the lockdown she said

she would play the Gnossiennes each day

until the plague passed over and real life resumed.

Now it’s nearing day four hundred

she’s quarantined and the ICUs are full

still the light play of fingers on the keyboard

brings a few moments’ peace to her day.

It’s spring again. She opens her window

and spreads the music’s calm composure

over the socially distanced street.

Colin Morton

P.S. On World Music Day 2022, COVID-19 goes on, and so does the music.

Video poems on YouTube

Since summer 2021 I have been collaborating with musician and producer Alrick Huebener on a series of video poems based on my writings. Works we have completed so far include:

Tinnitus <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUsWPn2wAHA>

The Weather <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWWRFcch_Uk>

At a Nameless Bend in the River <a href="http://<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0OQtz2G5vo&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0OQtz2G5vo>

Alrick Huebener’s YouTube channel includes other video poems he has created with poets Claudia Radmore, Susan McMaster, and of course his musical collaborators.

Last Days

Train poetry journal as posted my four part poem “Last Days” on its blog.

The poem once had an epigraph quoting the American poet Robert Duncan, who wrote in the 1960s, “Again and again we enter the last days of our civilization.” Fittingly, I think, “Last Days” ends with a beginning.

Last Days

1.

No one paid much mind at first.
A low murmur amid the hubbub.

When finally heard
alarms were late.

How do you stop a chain reaction
or keep calm with a fever?

2.

Many have seen the end of the world
as they knew it.

Last days before that end
must be special days.

Those living them must be special too.
We’ve always known.

3.

We do our best to be prepared
half-believe what our senses tell us.

Know one in the hand
for what it’s worth.

What’s left undone is yet to do
yet we did and did undo some things.


4.

We returned home in the waning light
chastened yet braced for new beginnings

sure we knew the way ahead
and wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.

This was not the moment for doubt.
We were of one mind, never so dangerous.

Colin Morton

Train poetry journal will include three other poems of mine in their next print journal, on sale across Canada.

Updating the Address Book

A new poem of mine is online this month at Bywords.ca

It captures a bit of the loneliness and isolation that many of us are feeling in lockdown.

Updating the Address Book

So many listings scratched out

and replaced with newer ones.

Here’s another out of date,

we haven’t been in touch for years.

When we met he lived in old town,

two rooms of a red brick house

leaning toward the St. Lawrence.

He made me tea, and I wondered

if it was safe amid hanging wires

for speakers and an over-worked fan.

One table housed kettle, toaster,

laptop and printer. A bungee

cord held the fridge door shut,

and a girlfriend slept in the other room.

Each place I’ve seen him since

has been a replay of that scene.

Disorder so thorough it must

begin inside, grow soulward with age,

unless saved by some great love.

Or maybe I’m wrong, after all,

you see what you expect to see.

Maybe that first time in Montreal

gave me a label to hang on him,

and maybe the label has faded now.

I may have read it wrong from the start,

it has happened before.

I wish I could see him now.

Ascent special issue, November, 2019

W. Scott Olsen is turning over the editorship of Ascent magazine after 25 years, and goes out with a special issue, including some compelling work from mainly American writers. I was a colleague of Scott at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, when he took over Ascent, already established for forty years or more, and moved it from Chicago.

Here are my three poems from the issue, all rather starry eyed, with links to the rest of the issue.

Stardust

I met a woman who said she stole
her father’s ashes from her mother’s home
spread them under her father’s microscope and saw
phosphorus constellations
shining.

 

 

Event Horizon

Does anything momentous happen
in the moment everything changes,
when a falling body crosses the line
between light and dark?

In the moment everything changes
is it an event at all
between light and dark?
Like the instant in debate

(is it an event at all?)
when you realize what you’ve said
– this instant in debate –
is fatal to your cause.

When you realize what you’ve said
and all your good reasons are past recall,
it’s fatal to your cause.
Or like one of those days

when all your good reasons are past recall
and nothing seems to happen.
Or like one of those days
you later see as the decisive moment

when nothing seems to happen
as a falling body crosses the line.
Later you see it’s the decisive moment,
the moment everything happens.

 

 

Broken Windows

(poem ending with a line by Louise Glück)

Shattered glass. And within each shard
a whole world of street and sky.

My mother laughs.
My father smokes.

Outside the house, with the slam of a door,
life begins.

On winter nights Orion chases across the sky.
Rigel, Betelgeuse. What’s the other?

The walk back from the bar alone is proof
the universe is expanding.

Leaves fall, then snow.
You want to know if there’s Christmas on other planets.

And if love is the answer.
Who said anything sillier, or better?

Find solace in that. Or in the poet’s words,
“the great plates invisibly shifting and changing.”

Three Poems ~ Colin Morton

Poem in Your Pocket

This poem, from my collection The Local Cluster, is featured in the 2018 Poem-in-Your-Pocket online anthology coproduced by the American Academy of Poets and the League of Canadian Poets. The anthology is free for download and full of fine words. So download it and keep it handy. Meanwhile, here is my poem from the anthology. If you like it and would like to receive my book, email me at colinmorton@sympatico.ca

Nightwalkingcard 001

© Colin Morton