Poems by Alan Hill

Poem Read for National Poetry Month Proclamation- March 2017 

The King of Glenbrook North    

First my parent’s garden
its Eden of children’s parties   
filthy knees

perpetual summer ecosystem,
of sugared up boys
microclimate of budded hormones     
punctured soccer balls.

Then the garden I tended as a student.
Industrial grade carrots,
cannonball sized cabbages
between which my fiancé Michelle    
in her wedding dress, netted herself
in front of the unsteady flesh
of the neighbours fence-
her peasant’s hands, bony and white
from the lack of a ring
that even then, I knew, I
was to never acquire for her. 

Then this garden I have now- small
secret, suburban

each corner
a continent overcrowded with trees
Laburnum      Pine      Magnolia
pockets of Spring light    
that only I have seen-
uncharted silences in the raspberry canes:

bordered by a pelt of rough cut lawn
shimmying itself shyly     
towards the back of the house   

squared up    
to the edge of the known world. 

Poem Read at the May Day Gala- May 24th 2017

May Day- New Westminster

This Maypole, middle world axis
for the earth to turn
lighthouse inside us, hormonal summer vision
bringer of buds, idolatry, difference
for us to wrap ourselves, pull the ribbons tight
climb back in the box of who we are.

Twist and turn, step around each other, avoid each other
each in our way, our role, individual, team
learning to be, to welcome it back
what is bigger than us, this god, or gods
law of nature. law of science
what it is we are, that we cannot know
maybe do not need to know

whatever that it is that gives us everything
owes us nothing
life in its cruelty, beauty, indifference, magnificence. 

We watch our children dance
these ones that will replace us
each hand held to the next like a thirst in need of
Breath in their joy, charge on it
in the knowledge that they understand, know a little now
of what we are, where we come from

that whatever world they make
what we give them now will not be in vain

that in this dance
whichever way they run they will be back
meet in the middle, weaved, stitched, more complete. 

Poem Written for Canada Day- July 2017  Canada Day
New Westminster, 2017

This City will not die.
The torn moon stitched tight
fire swept backwards into
the pocket of an Edwardian morning
river rooted around the sky into
a tree of smoke.

Our forefathers could hate
left the hard stumps of the excluded

They could also build
brought us the lung lines of our streets
the verdant foliage of the
collective head
schools, churches, temples, the
knife sharp shopping of our being

the fields and factories of tomorrow
palaces of the nine to five
hard shipping of Pacific
bleached, bloodied in Panama sun
Atlantic salt

our people
sprinting from the River edge
multiplying in grids.

Own this history, what has been done
has yet to come

no barrel bombs or gas

the barbed wire from around the heart
then all that is left of us is love.   

The Hunger Winter

Dedicated to Gert Heijkoop – Consulate General Vancouver

Kingdom of the Netherlands.   

A mad man under Berlin 
tap danced on his pyramid of skulls

his armies shifted, regiments paraded
peopled died -

the old, children, the ill
those that the utopians, the pure, master race
had no function for

who were not the right height, weight, colour
religion, shirt size
who spoke the wrong language.

People had to be murdered
for someone else’s fantasy of paradise.

Isn’t that always the way?  

All we had left to give, us Canadians, British
was our children

Eighteen, twenty years old’s.
Men then, who would be kids to us now.

We sent them out with guns, tanks
food they swapped for flowers

with bullets, their lives
that they bartered for a country

to give it back to those that owned it.  

In the slice of bread, spread of butter
there is a meal we will always share
a life we built together, will keep on building

Not heaven,
not the world of jumped up little fascists
with their answers, uniformed corpses

just this acceptance of ourselves
honouring of who we want to be
hope we can be better in what we do
how we include, value, honour

There are some
that would simply call this love.  

Alan Hill – Poet Laureate, City of New Westminster, November 11th, 2017.