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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A River Mouth Caught Many Nations

by Betty Geier

 Rhythms and Cycles

Plants wait for the return of high water
Need sustenance from
Rich waters of spring and summer

Sea roaming salmon
Consumed by urgent longing
Return to the river mouth

Out roaming green hills, bears eating berries
Long for the taste of fish at the river mouth
Compelled to return

High soaring eagles seeking eulichan
Eulichan compelled to spawn
Strong force driving them upriver

People waiting at the river mouth
Starving all winter
Desperate with longing for the first eulichan

Hunting people seeking fish oil
Living too long on lean dried meat
Return to the river mouth

Seafaring traders
Consumed by longing or greed
Return to the river mouth

Infinite rhythmic pulsing

Many nations
Caught in a river mouth

All of us, all of them
Caught in a circle
Spun by a river

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