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Cover of issue #222

Current Issue: #222 Recursive Time (Autumn 2014)

Canadian Literature's Issue 222 (Autumn 2014), Recursive Time, is now available. The issue features articles by Hannah McGregor, Aleksandra Bida, Anne Quéma, Nicholas Milne, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Eric Schmaltz, as well as new Canadian poetry and book reviews.

Hornbook #15

by Robert Kroetsch

I am one nervous poem. Can a poem be nervous?
Well of course a poem can be nervous. Just think about it.
First things first. How am I to view the end of the millennium?
Who the fuck wouldn’t be nervous? Things change.

It’s my nerves. Consider, for instance, the annihilation of species.
My habitat is on the way out. The forests are burning.
Recycle, recycle they tell us. The humans, I mean.
It’s my frayed assumptions. I don’t know where to begin.

Language, apparently, changes. Then where does the ego hang its hat?
Listen, I’m not telling you. I’m asking a simple, obvious question.
And the oceans are rising. The ozone layer is full of holes.
I’m not asking for pity. Pity up your royal rectum.

I’m trying to make adjustments. So off with my end rhymes.
When does the end justify the moans? Ha, funny.
It’s my wrecked nerves. I suppose the eternal would be even worse.
Once upon a time, and later, and later again. Holy shit.

More poems by Robert Kroetsch:


"Hornbook #15" originally appeared in Canadian Literature #158: New Directions (Autumn 1998)

MLA: Kroetsch, Robert. CanLit Poets: "Hornbook #15" by Robert Kroetsch. canlit.ca. Canadian Literature, 12 Mar. 2009. Web. 24 May 2015.

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