Wednesday 8 May 2024

Four Poems by Gregg Norman




Everything happens in whispers

Reverence is required

By seascapes, thick fogs, eagles

Paddling out of Port Hardy

In a kayak

Getting the hang of it


Clifftop monitoring station

With underwater mics

Recording  whale music

Ghost singers named and numbered

Pods as distinct as clans

Residents and transients


Camped above a narrow gravel beach

Tenting in the night-dark trees

Awakened by wet breathing

They’re right off the shingle

Spy-hopping, eyes bright

Watching us watching them


Next morning one comes paddle close

I’m well beyond reverence

Beyond wonder beyond awe

It glides under the kayak

Silence is black and white

I hold a prayer in my mouth





Flying in over Amarillo

Over a polka dot yellow-green

Landscape of irrigation pivots

Feedlots full of cattle

In a cornfed mosaic of man’s folly


Cows and corn drink deeply

Of water that can only come

From below the fertilized ground

The Ogallala Aquifer

One of the world’s largest


Giving up its gifts

Faster than manic man

Can restock its shallow shelves

Green wheels of growing

Round pegs in square holes


Land bone-dry but for

Subterranean water

How many years of drought this time

The numbers in and out

Don’t match up


I land to meet

Two good old boys

In boots and hats

To talk a little ‘bidness’

Over beans and barbeque


Bellies full

Toothpicks chewed

We study fading midday light

Dark clouds race in low

Filling the diner’s window


Scattered fat droplets

Become a sheet of wrinkled water

On the glass

The old boys walk to the window

“Look, Charlie, she’s rainin’”.





Hoodoos rise

on voodoo’d shafts

Toadstool tops

tense with anticipation

waiting on the wind

in a bomb crater

of natural causes

Frost wedging

row on row

of sloped schisms

on sidewalls

Cathedral spired

Glacier-worn gullies

Cactus pebbled

flat butte tops

for fire-dancing

the Badlands Boogie

Fire piled pyre high

Pagans stomp and shuffle

in alluvial dust

backs bent

arms akimbo

wide as wings

tranced moon howling

Luna reflecting

dead sun’s light

Coyote gopher snake

prey of birds of prey

sneak squeak and slither below

where man’s foot fears

the Devil’s domain





I loved gardening when I was left alone

to do it the way I wanted to do it,

to plant too many radishes,

to thin then with pinching fingers,

pull weeds and water them

and count them into a bowl

like it was a religious practice,

something I actually believed in.

Lots of exotic seeds I planted

didn’t grow or grew up weird

like I grew weird about what I was doing.

At least that’s the way some saw me,

because I was young

and had no business

loving a garden.

Gregg Norman is a recovering  lawyer who lives in a lakeside cottage in Manitoba, Canada. He reads and writes poetry every day to maintain his frail grip on reality. His work has appeared in Lothlorien Poetry Journal and has been accepted by Horror Sleaze Trash. He is also the author of four novels and a novella.

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