Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Time at Paudash Lake, a time of silence, a time of words, a time of friendship. Shannon and Tim visited. Their visit was as poignant, as precious as the myriad of Canada Geese rising in great number as my kayak nears. With their visit was conversation about what it means to Sawbonna: to see, to be seen, to hear, to be heard. To with-ness. As we spoke, early morning Loons voiced. Paudash, ethereally-misted, sighed. Autumn leaves pronounced the arrival of another manner of languaging life, of authenticating death. As a poet, words are my food. Film its sibling. Nourishing food arrived shorty after Shannon and Tim visited. Food in the form of an exquisite NFB Film, sent by Shannon. *Griefwalker. In watching this film, which was shot on lakes, shot in each season, I was as if invited into the precious and powerful knowing of Sawbonna's kin. "Grief is not an emotion. Grief is a skill." Sawbonna is not an emotion. Sawbonna is a skill. How does one come to learn how these simple phrases mean? One walks them. My pen will not cease. My poetry wishes the birth canal of this very computer display, of my thin and over-full journals. One poem came to me, and I share it below. I thought about how life's seasons, in the crucible of death's voicing, speak the essence of our journeys here. On this Earth. I wrote it well before I reached the "end" of, Griefwalker, where, Sawbonna, too, spoke.



Blue suitcases sit next to me,
Readying emptying. The closet
Door, open wide. And the bright orange
Hue of one autumn tree
Blazes into a steel-grey stunning sky.
In my heart resides the knowing of new
Medications. Of cancer in the spine,
At the base of the neck.
(Necks are for nuzzling, we know)
Life breaks, burgeoning with a voice
We sometimes wish to seal shut.
Then all comes. Clear.Quartz-clear.
I see it now. I see
How love, how longing, how
Generous Gaia speaking life
And only life, came from his body
Coupling in the depth of one day's
Sensuous smiling, with hers.
Not deterioration,  not desolation
Trumps how life informs life, for you are
Here. And even as his body finds another
Languaging, life speaks with every tear,
With every fear, with every want for
Life everlasting. Life speaks still.
Copyright 2015 Margot Van Sluytman


  1. Replies
    1. Dear Greg, Thank you for your generous and much-valued comment.

  2. Margot...profoundly deep seeing into the ultimate mystery...tender. Griefwalker is about Stephen Jenkinson...you might want to check out his latest book, released in March, DYING WISE. He is nearly (but not quite) as poetic as yourself.

    1. Dear Brenda, I am familiar with, Dying Wise. You offer me joy in what you share about my writing.

  3. Replies
    1. I'm sitting here in the pre-dawn silence with your words. With every beat of my heart they move ~ flowing in and out with each beat of my heart. Thank you Margot for the way you move us.

    2. Link just below the blog, just above the poem, Catherine Ann.

  4. Such a beautiful comment you have taken the time to share, Catherine Ann.