Lori's Book Nook

Archive for May 2013

It was just brought to my attention that the famous truly Canadian poem David by Earle Birney is now online!

This is a poem read by Canadian high school students, and I think for the most part they actually enjoy it, because while it’s long, it’s a clear story in a setting that many of them know and understand.

And here it is, courtesy of the University of Toronto Libraries — annotated even!

A sample:

2 All week in the valley for wages, in air that was steeped
3 In the wail of mosquitoes, but over the sunalive weekends
5 Poker, the wrangling, the snoring under the fetid
6 Tents, and because we had joy in our lengthening coltish
7 Muscles, and mountains for David were made to see over,
8 Stairs from the valleys and steps to the sun’s retreats.
II
10 To a curling lake and lost the lure of the faceted
11 Cone in the swell of its sprawling shoulders. Past
12 The inlet we grilled our bacon, the strips festooned
13 On a poplar prong, in the hurrying slant of the sunset.
14 Then the two of us rolled in the blanket while round us the cold
15 Pines thrust at the stars. The dawn was a floating
17 To snow like fire in the sunlight. The peak was upthrust
18 Like a fist in a frozen ocean of rock that swirled
19 Into valleys the moon could be rolled in. Remotely unfurling
20 Eastward the alien prairie glittered. Down through the dusty
23 Strides. I remember, before the larches’ edge,
24 That I jumped a long green surf of juniper flowing
26 Spilled on the moss. Then the darkening firs
27 And the sudden whirring of water that knifed down a fern-hidden
28 Cliff and splashed unseen into mist in the shadows.
It goes on…a story of friendship and tragedy and growth. Truly quite spellbinding for a poem.

Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!