It is night. Outside
a light across the blind
and the wet rubber sound
of a car passing.
Bamboo sings a long song
to the wind
and the house sighs.
Rain drops like a shawl.
Usually, we take for granted or plain ignore the Earth we walk on, Sky above us, Water we drink and bathe and swim in or that falls as rain, the Fire we assume for heat, and the Wood that’s our landscape and our building material. But over fifteen years as a construction carpenter, Kate Braid began to pay more attention to the elemental materials she worked with and depended upon. Out of these she has crafted an intimate picture not only of what it is like to be wholly engaged with the building materials of the earth, but of living in and upon it every day.
In the decade since the publication of the first edition of In Fine Form, there has been a resurgence of Canadian poets writing in “form” – in sonnets, ghazals, villanelles and palindromes. The first edition was called “groundbreaking” and “a landmark text.” Since then, In Fine Form has been widely used in classrooms and at large, by students, writers and readers. With 180 poems and almost 50 new poets, this 2nd edition continues to break new ground, exploring new forms not acknowledged in most other anthologies including prose poems, found poems and spoken word.
On the Roof with Death
When sawdust rolls like marbles under our boots
on the newly sheathed roof three storeys up
we talk of falling. It’s like butter boxes, Dale says.
We could slide real good. Only hurts when you land!
He yells this suddenly
as if to warn the neighbours.
Dale is a journeyman.
I am his apprentice.
You know the people who live for the moment, he says,
laughing. They yell “Whee!” all the way down.
“Since women started working in the trades in the 1970s, very little has been published about their experiences. In this provocative and important book, Kate Braid tells the story of how she learned the carpentry trade in the face of skepticism and discouragement.
She was one of the first qualified women carpenters in British Columbia, the first woman to join the Vancouver local of the Carpenters’ Union, the first to teach construction full-time at the BC Institute of Technology and one of the first women to run her own construction company. Though she loved the work, it was not an easy career choice but slowly she carved a role for herself, asking first herself, then those who would challenge her, why shouldn’t a woman be a carpenter?
Told with humour, compassion and courage, Journeywoman is the true story of a groundbreaking woman finding success in a male-dominated field.”
I parachute into man’s country,
hoist my beer in the bar as if native.
Cool, I talk shop, stand as they stand,
not quite sure
of the cocky swing of hips,
lift of the glass in a loud bass,
This is the world of the knowing.
It’s only a small slip into a minor key
when I turn left to go to the Ladies.
The image of me out there – Ice Man –
it’s only image. I don’t want to show
how it all comes from the blood, from inside, you know?
I only tell you this now because I’m drunk on sound.
Tomorrow I will deny it.
Blood? What blood? I am Bach