“Silly girl”.
Has renamed
her newborn, Vancouver.

Says the city whispers
in her ear: I will keep my air clean.
Waters too. Will keep my soul green,
skies blue. Will let my earth spread
more root-runs not pipe runs.

Says the city promises to celebrate
Salish dancing, Sufi whirling.

“Silly girl”.
Believes the city will keep its word.

When in his native village in Punjab Sampooran used to dream of the Saptarishi stars and a city among them with a cerulean glow and a celestial tremolo. He would wake up amazed by the tall poles painted red and black with supernatural divine and animal faces. Sometimes his dream took him across oceans to a city of nirvana where apples and loonies hung side by side from the trees. Vancouver beckoned him in many forms until he reached the city at last.

Now sitting in a park of the cynosure he’s all confused. Every night dreams take him back to his village where he walks the same old streets ploughs the same fields talks nonstop laughs a lot. Sampooran wonders if something’s gone wrong in his head or the city is trying to tell him something he doesn’t understand.

Probability of finding Pauli
a lost friend of mine, is high, they say
on a downtown street called Hastings

where movements of
men and women
and birds with broken wings
follow the Uncertainty principle

like quantum objects
whose existence is fun to explore
fun to talk about

Questions and Answers

How/where do you find inspiration today?

I don’t look for a special source of inspiration. What’s important is being in the poetic mood when ordinary things start looking extraordinary and inspire poetry.

As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

Write more and experiment more. Have fun: try writing a poem in ten minutes, even in five, on something you see or think of at random. You’ll be surprised by how your imagination expands and explores.

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

The poem was inspired when one of my nieces had a new baby and was wondering about her name.

What poetic techniques did you use in this poem? How much attention do you pay to form and metre?

I didn’t have any particular technique in mind when composing this poem. Its nature determined the form. The rhythm of the poem, however, was something I paid special attention to.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.