April 2, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Penn Kemp




Middle March and Beyond



Last day of winter and snow recedes slowly

as creatures emerge tentatively to feed. We

are all immersed, immured, enveloped in

this strange in-between time, ice melting

to air. Transition ritual: old kings must die.


So we are told. Be gone, cold. Welcome,

fluctuating circumstance. Holding our breath,

hanging as elements change their nature, we

lowlanders wait patiently/impatiently, accepting

/rejecting conditions that no longer serve us.


We are hiking slippery, snow-covered slopes

above the roiling ocean. Waves are icing over

even as they break. Whitecaps freeze into icicle

tendrils. Treading carefully, we manage to arrive


at the brink of a future few are sure will ever be

golden or even green, given shrinking glaciers

and the sea, rising. Given our collective idiocy.





Yes in Our Yard



Reading The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert—past 5 mass extinctions toward


the next. Frogs and toads, a myriad amphibians in

mottled dun or garish armour warning of poison—


gone in an evolutionary flash. Tocsin sounds

the toxin so loud as to be indistinguishable

from roar. And nearer now, warning close

to home and honing in, clouds as yet unknown.


Toad tadpoles in our pond are just developing

arms when they all … disappear. Overnight


racoons? Drowning? NIMBY, you’d think. But

it is my backyard.


I know I am responsible







Penn Kemp

Penn Kemp is an activist Canadian poet, playwright and editor.  Her latest works are two plays celebrating local hero and explorer, Teresa Harris, produced in 2017 and published by Playwrights Guild of Canada. Recent books include Barbaric Cultural Practice (quattrobooks.ca/books/barbaric-cultural-practice/) and two anthologies edited, Women and Multimedia and Performing Women (http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/livingarchives/). See www.pennkemp.weebly.com.

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