On Losing Power: Reflections on Generational Sadness
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
3M ago
13 February 2024 We wake to a frozen sea, a pale sun seeping through grey clouds. The rising tide breaks up a brittle skim of ice and carries drift pans, like logs, into shore. For a few moments, the icy sea turns blue with refracted light; the clouds part, and weak shadows lean across the day. Just before I am to start a meeting at work that I have called, the power goes out. It will not come back on until the end of the morning. So I cancel the meeting, standing in the cold at the edge of the porch to text a colleague, because that is the only place that I have a cell signal. My morning cof ..read more
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What is the distance between standing by and being a bystander?
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
7M ago
In a time of war, this war, the one in which, with US and Canadian sanction, Israel is flattening Gaza and killing thousands of civilians, what is the distance between standing by and being a bystander? I dream last night that I am in a conflict zone; it is a shattered urban space. A family huddles nearby–a panicked father and little children. A bomb comes zooming in and right beside me a small boy is hit by shrapnel or debris. I scoop him up and race to a nearby clinic, which is only a tent, calling loudly for help. When I arrive, the medical staff will not let me enter. They tell me the chi ..read more
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Sounds of things you cannot hear
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
9M ago
Snow falling on a doe’s nose; twitch of the hairs that line her ears; how our nervous eyebeams cross and stutter; when spindrift flurries smash and drop. Otter prints at the water’s edge; taste of grass beneath the pines; flank’s quiver, heart’s thump, and the sudden savour of coyote paws. Hunger marches across the pond, by rabbit trails and pheasant scratchings crouches near the slouching rushes, where come night, some creature sleeps. Somewhere a doe is always watching– fluttering startle, tail flicker, flattened grass and trampled snow. This poem–really an exercise–was suggested by wha ..read more
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Nightwatch #2 (on boredom)
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
1y ago
for Marike, πάντοτε Night or day, when at sea we are always on watch, Marike and I. She is the skipper, the one who oversees and takes charge of the whole vessel–without her there would be neither vessel nor voyage–and I navigator and cook, but we make all of the important decisions about what to do on a passage together, including how and when to spell each other off. Rest is as essential as wakefulness, for sailing requires both strength and presence of mind, particularly on a long passage. What you cannot see, you must teach your ears or your flesh to give shape. Love, you log the sea mile ..read more
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Nightwatch #1 (on demons and ghosts)
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
1y ago
for Marike, πάντοτε Night or day, when at sea we are always on watch, Marike and I. She is the skipper, the one who oversees and takes charge of the whole vessel–without her there would be neither vessel nor voyage–and I navigator and cook, but we make all of the important decisions about what to do on a passage together, including how and when to spell each other off. Rest is as essential as wakefulness, for sailing requires both strength and presence of mind, particularly on a long passage. It is never a question of if there will be a challenge, but rather of when and of what sort, for simp ..read more
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Brother poem
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
1y ago
A rainy morning in Ohio. I've not seen my brother for many months. Yet here he is, on the porch, plucking out a tune. Waiting for me to wake. Sound recorded on the morning of 27 July 2022 on Washington Avenue, Urbana Ohio. Leslie Cope plays one of the many banjos that he’s made, in this case a compact travelling banjo ..read more
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The day spoils (exercising translation)
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
1y ago
Le temps [est en train de] s’enfant de chienniser (obscure/offensive quebecois slang for “the weather is spoiling”) The day spoils we say meaning the rain will soon come. As if it, too, were not as essential as air. The day spoils meaning that bitch is birthing bastard children (again). As if clear paternity were all it took to make the sun shine. As if clear paternity were all it took to make the days good, to keep us in line, unlike that bitch who only ever bears us rain. As if without that bitch who only ever bears us rain so many good days all in a row will not have burned us out, legit ..read more
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Ghost of sorrow
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
1y ago
There is a ghost of sorrow who lives in my heart. It wakes; it keeps me awake; it squeezes against my chest. Sometimes it leaks from my eyes when I am driving as if lured by a ribbon of song or the curve of the road as it turns inland. A cousin of grief or a pupil of regret-nor yet either—it wends seaward like smoke, unstitching every memory: how your braids snagged in our mother's hands, how piles of ruined clothes obscured the basement light. Tell me, are we still living in that old house? To think how all those days my heart rang and it rang and I never responded. Notes Th ..read more
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Watching birds lift noiselessly after an explosion (Postcard with Ilya Kaminsky)
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
2y ago
The house cracks with cold and I wake as if gunshot, veering from dream into thumping pressure on my eardrums. I am inside Ilya Kaminsky’s republic of the deaf watching birds lift noiselessly into the sky after an explosion. The news coming from the Ukraine, from Odessa and Kharkiv and Lviv and Kyiv is uniformly terrible. Bombings. Disinformation campaigns. Mass evacuations. Civilians huddled all night in underground stations. Tanks driving over cars that have people in them. A reporter who walks 72 kilometres with a convoy of refugees from Lviv to the Polish border speaks of conscriptions an ..read more
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Questions for my students that I also ask myself
Visible Poetry
by Karin Cope
2y ago
Why are you here and what do you need to know to live well in the world? What are your responsibilities? What are the founding myths and creation stories that inform what your role, purpose and responsibilities are in the world, where you fit? Who are your ancestors and where are they now? What do they have to do with where you are now? What will you do to be a good ancestor? Is this a game? It could be a game. But it’s also a discussion. An occasion to think. A point on a moral compass. A place from which to ask other questions, to find things out. A way of saying these things are not besi ..read more
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