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Jacket 18 — August 2002   |   # 18  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Gil McElroy

Seven poems

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‘Vacancy, it,’ is a sign subject to the frogmouthed ‘ways of
faith.’ The ‘symbol is a shape filled with sunrises,’
emanates from ‘the head itself,’ & the noisy
‘& shared concerns of the absurd,’ has an inner
‘core of assumption.’

‘Weather like this,’
is not insane, yet it is ‘the maker’s care,’
that impresses.


Every child begins ‘indoors,’
with the title ‘page use of posterity,’
a slight ‘wobble of touching silliness,’ some
‘honest expenses,’ &
‘a fuel easily extinguished.’

The most bewildering
‘bodies move in circles,’ is rounded
by ‘the time, by the clock, that Rousseau threw away
    all of his canvases,’
‘stars,’ ‘silence,’ &

‘Principles,’ fills ‘them all.’


My ‘feet absurdly leave the room,’ has
an uneasy ‘and sluggish length’ fringed
with ‘mirth,’
& ‘ a colleague disarmed many,’ of
‘my patients,’ is riddled with
‘common translations,’ & the rather popular
‘forms of rioting.’

How much caffeine’s in ‘this morning’s coffee?’


17 ‘schemes of things,’ 5
‘perfect histories,’ & 1000
‘expensive cellars.’

A number of ‘gods bubbled & broke.’

A cotton ‘number of days,’ & piles & piles
of ‘westerly winds.’

‘Misled by words,’ alone.


‘Daughters,’ as an afterthought.

From The Book of Knowledge

     When a piece of seaweed feels very  damp, it tells us that there is a good deal of moisture in the air, and rather more moisture than the air can well carry, so that it is glad to unburden itself into the seaweed so far as possible. Now, that means that the air may very likely unburden itself soon on a bigger scale by means of the rain.
     When the seaweed is dry, it means the opposite of this.

from The Book of Knowledge

Easy and Useful Rustic Carpentry

That part where all the best seeing is done is packed with cones and nothing else.

Do not think, however, that we are entitled to blame our eyes and eyelids and say that they are not what they should be. They sometimes fumble and tangle things more for a time, but the gathering together of cones in one place is so for the purposes of practical living.

There are many fairly good reasons why some coins should be made of gold. The other kinds of spots before the eyes come and go.

Lines with Letters above the Loops

Though it was formerly much more used than it is now, the name for this particular kind of line is so important that, though it is a rather long name, I must tell it to you.*  
Some people have said that the use of this line is to give us a better hold upon things, but if that were so we should have to say that they are scarcely worth having.
Of course, the wholesale removal of ‘macadamized road,’ is not recommended, but by keeping our eyes open, even if they sink in and look untidy, we may often come across a specimen well worth adding to our collection.

* If we peel off the crust of the earth, as we peel an orange, so that the glowing centre or glowing core of the earth were exposed, we could see it to read it.


In a conservatory in this beautiful country, which the writer knows, there are watertanks to which the frogs go. The most wonderful thing to do there is climb a smooth tree and walk head downward on the underside of its big leaves.
About the middle of November, in the colder parts of the country, the small streams commence to freeze-over, and there is an occasional flurry of snow. But the chances for enjoyment do not vanish with the coming of the frost; the mountains are nowhere more than fifty miles from the coast and are easily seen from a coastal steamer.
Here is another summer picture of Fur-land. You can tell from the slimness of their trunks that the men pictured are in the sub-Arctic forest. At mid-day, when they pour out to luncheon, the high, canyon-like walls look down on a wonderful sight.
The men are puzzled by the disappearance of terrible giants which formerly lived, and the growing up of types utterly different from those which, in the long ago, had the globe to themselves.
Perhaps you have seen them, painted on the ambulance sides.

Three Wonderful Gases

When we are taken captive by intense laughter, we cannot hold tightly to things.
We know that the necessary muscles are there, but they are generally inoffensive. Occasionally, however, they become as weeds, large as ever, and so we may be sure that the explanation is somewhere else.
The map is still filling up.

The Beautiful Green Stuff

The green stuff that we know so well in plants is made by sunlight, and it is made in order to use sunlight after it is made.

In the autumn in the plant, the beautiful green stuff made by the sunlight changes and goes.

The Catherine Wheel

Whatever the nature of the wheel, poor Catherine was bound to it

Gil McElroy's most recent books are Dream Pool Essays (Talonbooks, 2001), and Gravity & Grace: Selected Writing on Contemporary Canadian Art (Gaspereau Press, 2001). He currently lives in the village of Colborne, Ontario.

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