There’s a lot of salmon, more salmon, yet more salmon, pheasant, and blood, blood, blood. But then, we’ve wanted too much of the first, and paid too little attention to what the last really is, and really means. And I appreciate the many images of the Fraser River, which I have the good fortune to live near. The deep, personal connection of the poet’s remains clearly true and real. Since 1995, though, Bowling has lived in Edmonton, which I have just left (once again), to return (once again) to the West Coast where Bowling spent his earlier life.
From my perspective, knowing how difficult it is to write what is right and also memorable, to be noted in particular are these two.
“These things happen, my mother said, / as mothers will, for life cannot / be borne at all unless it / seems ordained to those who’d / had to face the loss of all they’d bred. / In black, his mother and his widow wept / tears around his son, safely dreaming, islanded.” – from “Golden Gloves.”
And, “Mostly, I didn’t mind the rain. / It seemed, as always, / too gentle for this world.” – from “A Christmas Card to Strangers.” These words are right. I tried long to capture the winter rain and its sound in a way that mattered, but did not, and threw the lines away. How difficult it is to express the otherworldliness the rain contains in its descent.