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National Poetry Month: Sarah Klassen reads Heading home

 
“SARAH                
 

 

Heading home

 

A small flotilla of gulls afloat on the muddy river

their grey wings altered by alchemy of autumn sun

to silver, their outraged voices hushed.

They are at home on water, at home in the sky.

 

Upriver a convoy of geese contemplates, courageously

the next long flight. Flapping, they lift off, aim

their trademark pattern south. Are they going home?

Or is home north where the nests are?

 

Home is where the graves are, someone wrote.

I will visit today the grave of a friend who flew

too soon from home and landed

elsewhere. The predatory gulls swoop up,

 

screaming. Aloft, they circle, plummet, plunge.

Is the airborne honking of the geese:

alarm or is it joy for the journey

etched in the blood and bones

 

of birds? My friend once said as we watched

a flock of cedar waxwings plundering the ash tree

in autumn: They are fuelling up.

They are preparing to fly home.

 

She said it wistfully.

She said it bravely.

 

 

Sarah Klassen began writing poetry when she was teaching English at River East Collegiate. The most recent of her seven collections of poetry is Monstrance and she has also published one novel, The Wittenbergs. Klassen lives in Winnipeg and reads the Winnipeg Free Press.

 

The Winnipeg Free Press will be running poems by Manitoba poets every weekday in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. The NPM in the WFP Project was edited by Ariel Gordon.