Liz Snell

Liz Snell studied Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. She enjoys painting, outdoor adventures, and bad puns. She works and lives at a residential retreat and study centre near her hometown of Victoria,Canada.


The Return

I won’t argue that to love
the world with your eyes
and the dark soil on your hands
and boots is a way of knowing
God. To hear the red-winged
blackbird dice the February air
is good as a hymn. We’ve
said this all enough.

I’ve known a time when maples
turned, in autumn, grey instead of gold,
when God no longer brooded
in their leaves.
Not praise, not even the threshed
kernel of despair could burn

What sang to me then?

What’s left when we’re finished
with petitions and the thank-you note?
What’s there below the water
my silhouette’s sunk in?

This morning an odd wind
tousles grass around the pond,
lifts cedar hems. The Canada geese
arrive; I hadn’t known
their absence ‘til I heard
their shouts and crash
of feathers in the pond.
From their long throats,
echoes locate new reeds,
the cracks in every tree.

Even in silence I’m aware
of what weight floats in the centre
of the land: what sinewed wings,
what glinting eyes, all speaking –
this, and this, and this,
and you
are mine, are mine.

Return to Issue One