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Jan Wood

Second Prize: 2016 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $500

About this Poet:
Over 200 of Jan’s poems and short stories have been published in papers, anthologies and journals. Her images are often inspired by the boreal forest of Northern Saskatchewan, where she lives with her husband. She is a teacher, mother and grandmother. In 2015, her first book of poetry, Love is not Anonymous, was published by Thistledown Press.

About this Poem:
During a winter morning meditation I was struck by three things: the soft peaceful wisdom that comes with age if we survive the frontlines, the living, breathing passion in all of us that changes but does not fail like the body and the sense of communion I experienced in giving thanks for the bare branches holding the beauty of the morning sun. That immense beauty hung with such God-glory that it began to shrink what I saw and expanded something inside me. I was surprised by the pain in the joy of it. I wanted to write the mixture of all that down.


Some grey-haired days it is possible to see
the messages
seeded before we die.
Once she was a willow-girl,
sky-eyed in the middle of spring
practicing a chorus of dishes
towels flapping on a line, staring
at the tsunami, the long curve of disbelief,
the onslaught of waves, the army
that left her angry, empty
and she thought it would never end, the occupation,
their boots in the grass,
the wild surrender to temptations
these memories jockey,
hurtle her out of the starting gate with a 1000 prayers
aching in her marrow

and the blinding wonder of it all:
hope still cradles peace
love is utterly ridiculous
Everywhere there is pursuit and passion
the land moves, words move
and light falls like applause across the table
and she gives thanks for the black branches
that hold the pink sunrise
her water colour world, pale and beautiful
that purges her from wanting
what every drop of rain has
and she doesn’t:
the act of containing the warm quiet
a safety deposit box of miracles
and like the frost’s delicate design on her window pane
a portal to the holy.

Copyright ©2016 Jan Wood