If I could nourish an orb of sun in my hands,
not only my words,
the rays that strike the golden curls of a cherub and gleam;
if I could capture the squeal of a child in bliss,
carefree nothingness
and forever,
eternally echoing in a conch shell;
if I could bottle the perfume of the first bloom of spring,
birth in a scent
sweetness, potent as a kiss;
if I could harness the quenching of water,
life’s vital source;
if these I could make material and gift to you,
wrapped in the gauze of my soul,
expecting no reciprocity
I would,
knowing only
that when I searched your eyes
you would know.

Questions and Answers

How/where do you find inspiration today?

I find inspiration through challenging or rewarding moments in life and the lessons I learn through them, and from experiences in beautiful landscapes. Often as I am taking a walk and reflecting, while appreciating the beauty of the surroundings – whether it be a forest, a stream, the mountains, the ocean – metaphors come to mind, and a sentence or phrase arises that forms the beginning of a poem. Once I pick up a pen to begin writing, the poem develops spontaneously after the first line as related ideas emerge that I weave together. I continue returning to the original inspiration that I received on the walk, and recall the recent lessons from my experiences that seem to meld with the themes.

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. books, films, art, websites, etc.)?

I find Spoken Word particularly powerful – attending performances or watching videos of performances can be very inspiring. It is also valuable to find a few poets whose style you resonate with well, and to read and re-read their work to develop your own skills in crafting poems. Spending time in used book stores in the poetry section is an excellent way to find new authors.

How did your writing process unfold around this poem? How did you write, edit, and refine it?

The writing process of this poem was natural and fairly fast. On a sunny spring morning I had the inspiration to write about the images of children’s laughter and the early spring blooms whose scent I had been appreciating in Vancouver. I was sitting at a park near the ocean and I wrote the poem all at once. The metaphors of the gifts flowed naturally for me, and I paused and reflected only before writing the final few lines of the poem. At that time I completed the poem – I did not actually need to edit and refine it other than the punctuation. I did, though, replace one word years later when I revisited it. In the first line “nourish” was previously “covet,” but because the poem is about giving, the word did not fit with the diction, so I pondered for some time about the replacement word and settled on nourish.

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.