Joanne Arnott, World Poetry Featured Poet!

Joanne Arnott is a Metis/mixed-blood writer, originally from Winnipeg, living on the west coast of Canada since 1982. Her first book, Wiles of Girlhood, won the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry (1992). She has published five further books, with two currently in print, Steepy Mountain love poetry (Kegedonce, 2004) and Mother Time: Poems New & Selected (Ronsdale, 2007).  Mother to six young people, all born at home, Joanne is a founding member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective/west coast, has served on the National Council of The Writers Union of Canada, and continues to sit with the Author’s Committee, The Writers Trust of Canada.  She is also active with the Richmond Writers Group. Joanne hosts two occasional blogs, Vera Manuel Tribute and Joanne Arnott, as well as an online storytellers e-group.

 

breath
for Vera Manuel


in your poems i find
truth
not just my truth
i find the biggest kind of truth
the kind that sets me at ease
and i can just

relax back into my life
instead of holding myself away
holding my breath
holding my self and world together
holding on to the truth, too, afraid
that if i don’t hold on
i will lose everything

what is this “everything”?
what do i have to lose?
self
world
balance

when i set my hands on your poetry, and
when i set my eyes on your poetry, and
when i read your poetry
i relax again
i breathe easy

when your poetry comes importuning me
nibbling at my ears and at
the edges of my mind
slipping along like a barefoot child
on a cold wood floor, telling me
it is time to wake up
it is time to wake up
it is christmas morning

i turn and open my arms
and i welcome the child
who scrambles up into my arms
with a big grin

your poetry
doesn’t care about
my bad teeth
my ragged robe
my long road


your poetry
is so honest
it’ll bust a gut for tragedy
then turn around and smile at me
eyes shining

and so
i know
i am safe here, here at least
and here forever
in a world where your poetry lives
and the truth is known

Joanne Arnott ©

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