Say the Names...

Al Purdy wrote a wonderful poem called "Say the names say the names" which celebrates the names of Canadian rivers - Tulameen, Kleena Kleene, Similkameen, Nahanni, Kluane and on and on in a celebratory song.

Enbridge is planning to build a dual pipeline that will carry bitumen and condensate across hundreds of waterways between Edmonton and Kitimat. Some of these waterways are rivers like the Parsnip (or what's left of it), the Nechako, the Morice and others are smaller creeks whose names are often known only to the folks who live along their banks or who fish in their shadows or who bend to wash or drink as they cross paths.

I want to collect the names of these rivers and creeks, to collect your stories, your poems, your songs so we can collectively give voice to the land living under the line Enbridge plans to draw.

People have also sent me copies of their presentations to the community oral presentations. If you'd like to add your voice, email me ( your stories and I'll post them for you. The copyright remains with you.

All the best.
Sheila Peters

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Five Rivers: under bridges

by Jill Wigmore 

1. Nechako

a fish spine crusted to shore
dried eggs sparkling
like lost things stuck to stone
the river trickles

the Nechako underfull
but imagine it teaming with current:
ripped willows crammed to shore
logs jammed against bridge uprights
and placid massive white sturgeon
languid on the river bottom
unruffled by the water at full bore


man oh man
I wanna see that one

2. Chilako

one bend available
bridged, seen at a whiz-pass
reeds at river’s edge
eddy river right          

despite the signs the kids park
and plunge
to the chicken-farm river mud

chilako chilako
a song at high speed                                                                           
the view in the rearview
makes you back up

3. Nation

big, slow, sloping water
sweeps the swimming hole
hopefully full of eatin’ fish
more likely fallen cars
from the Nation river bridge
4. Fraser (Fort George)

meet the clang and stink of the black train bridge
dripping the rain into the broad brown river
can trees be proud?
the cottonwoods aren’t quitters
they draw the river up their roots
reach high toward sky
travelers in metal cars untouched
by river life, rife and humming
down below

5. Stuart

two types of water
swirl together in a kindergarten picture of confluence
silt and summer
the sweat of one long lake
giving up to smaller water
pressured into flow
from cloud to this: brown
and bright green

("Five Bridges" was first published in home when it moves you (Creekstone Press 2005)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poets join hands

This great webpage ( contains thousands of kilometres of wonderful poems - more than enough to stuff the proposed pipeline full of thoughts, concepts, emotions, and life more valuable than bitumen.

River Photos

This is the junction of the Babine and Skeena rivers.