This past weekend I was in St. John’s for the 2011 Arts and Letters Awards, an event that showcases developing as well as established talent in Newfoundland arts. The awards cover a broad range of disciplines: literature, music, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, etc. and the work on display at The Rooms was quite impressive to say the least.
I am honoured to be one of the authors who won in the senior poetry category for a poem I wrote inspired by my father and a relic of his I still have today. The poem you will find below, but you should click this link to see the other entries that took the $1,000 prize. Congratulations to all who have taken home awards this year and contributed in their own way to the developing story of Newfoundland’s literary heritage.
MY FATHER’S POCKET KNIFE
My father’s pocket knife rests on the dresser,
a stainless steel elongation of himself
into once knotted and grooved days I call my own.
The handle curved like the back of a German Brown
he taught me to raise from rippling water
with nothing but a line and hope, the magic in his
bent form as he spoke the trout to air.
There’s something exotic in the bone, ivory-like,
that plates the hand piece in its rutted way;
perhaps walrus, perhaps caribou; a whittled down relic
running with coins heard calling in his pocket.
And the blade as I extend it now (fingers
on a wishbone) can still strip the finest wire,
splice together two ends so long broken
by wear and tear, the dirty deeds of time.
That edge as it glares the light back to me
still makes the cut, sharp and deep as ever.