goat-footed balloon man

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On June 16th The Voices Project launched its first annual chapbook: The Voices Project: Storied Objects. Only a small number of chapbooks were made, but an e-book edition is forthcoming.

The cover and book design were created by graphic artist Anna Nibby-Woods. The cover was hand-woven by members of The Voices Project and each chapbook was hand-sewn. Furthermore, each poem of this chapbook was workshopped and edited by Voices Project members.

The launch of the chapbook took place during the Open House / first Annual General Meeting of The Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice at Mount Saint Vincent University. During the AGM, members of The Voices Project read a collaborative poem inspired both by the advent of spring and Jan Zwicky’s visit to MSVU on March 8th, 2011. This collaborative work, which is an anaphora of Jan Zwicky‘s “You Must Believe in Spring” from Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, demonstrates the collective nature of workshopping and writing that The Voices Project promotes and fosters. I would like to thank the wonderful authors and editor of this poem for allowing me to publish it here.


“You Must Believe in Spring”: Collective Anaphora

By Alison Delory, Susan Drain, Corinne Gilroy, Courtney Jollymore, Ramona Lumpkin, Enid Schaller, and Crystal Vaughan. Poem edited by Clare Goulet. Note: Centred, italicized passages are taken from Jan Zwicky‘s “You Must Believe in Spring” from Songs for Relinquishing the Earth.


Because it is the garden. What is left to us.

Because silence is not silence without sound.

Because it is the sweetest sound, the first note in the melody.

Because birds compete with your alarm clock to get you out of bed. Too early but not early enough.

Because the cat is shedding more than normal and the vacuum is full.

Because daylight steeps like tea to bless old bones.

Because salt stains cede to chalk scrawls on the sidewalk.

Because spring believes in you.

Because spring doesn’t care what you believe.

Because spring is the most frustrating of friends, one who makes you wait… and wait… and wait…

Because your body remembers

breezes that warmed

heat on shoulders

hair hot to the touch

soil that willed fingers to slide in

then bursts in so fabulous you forgive her.

Because snowdrops on their thin green stalks insist it is true.

Because flowers are not shy.

Because I am tired of hunching my shoulders against the wind and checking the thermostat and saying put on a sweater,

shoving gloves in your pocket in case rain turns to snow.

Because I would rather fling my arms wide.

Because spring takes reservations,

because spring has none.

Because the sun is a dreadful liar

but still you love his caress.

Because the heart can’t be cabined a single day longer.

Because the weather is as schizophrenic as my brother; because

I heard from my brother for the first time in five years.

You must believe in spring because

your hands ache

trying to dig in the cold, crunchy garden.

Because your ribs will start to show.

Because the roads will swell and crack.

Because the turbulence of meltwater and rock is more than a flood warning.

Because last year’s nest is still in the branches, and feathers still line its hallow.

Because the tiny skeleton below the nest is bleached to a thread.

Because this too shall pass.

Because Jan Zwicky says so.

Because otherwise their precision at the blue line would

mean nothing.

Because timing is everything.

Because I refuse to become my mother.

Because the grass is greener on this side.

Because your body can’t remain chilled forever.

Because spring is an animal.

Because spring will remind you that you are one too.


that you trudged through another winter

and came out on the other side.

Because even sorrow has a source.

Because Wallace Stevens assured us that death is the mother of beauty

and the earth has been cold for so long.

Because the goat-footed balloon man whistles far and wee

and I will answer.

Because it is time.

It is.

For — though the heart cannot fly — it is an excellent clamberer.


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