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

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Dog's Grand Passion

by Valerie Laub

Thanks to Valerie for sending in this poem - and if you haven't already heard, she and the cast of Alberta Tarzans: The  Musical are working on another play.

There is a dog, small, black, 

and wet, who loves to chase 

rocks in the river shallows.

(And when I say, “love,” 

believe me, I mean “love.”)

My role in the play of this small, black dog 

is to throw the rocks. Rock after rock after rock. 

I throw rocks until my arm hurts and my shoulder aches. 

I throw rocks until the river is choked with stones, 

the beach bare, night threatens and winter bites the air.

I throw rocks as this small black dog dashes, 

careless of stars and seasons,

through the riotous, rollicking waves. 

Once home, I return to my passion -- 

seeking words that bring my day to life.

The dog, sprawled under the dying sun,

dreams of rocks flying; 

the sheer glory and glint of river spray; 

her sweet, sleek black body plunging 

through the perfect poem of her day.

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