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Vallum Contemporary Poetry launched a “Poem of the Week” feature on its blog back in April. So far, they have posted poems previously published in Vallum Magazine by Domenico Capilongo, Garth Martens, Gary Barwin, James Deahl, and Pamela Porter, enhanced with an audio recording or a poetry video.
This week, “The Port of London” from Zeppelin is the featured poem. I made my second poetry video for the occasion. You can view the post here. The poem originally appeared in 2012 in issue 9.2, The Invisible Cityscape. Thanks to Vallum for supporting the poem back then and for the opportunity to be part of “Poem of the Week”.
Blaise took refuge in a cave, and led a hermit’s life. Birds brought his food to him, and came to him in flocks, not flying away until he had blessed them. When any of them was ailing it came to him, and was restored to health. One day the governor’s men had hunted over the countryside without finding any game; and coming to the place where Blaise had set up his dwelling, they saw a great gathering of birds and other animals crowding about the hermit to seek his protection. As it turned out, the huntsmen could not lay a hand on any of them.
A woman who was very poor, came and asked the saint to obtain the return of her only pig, which had been carried off by a wolf. And the saint, smiling, said to her: “Good woman, be not troubled! The pig will be returned to thee!” And at that very moment the wolf was seen running toward them bringing back to the widow the pig which he had stolen. From then on the woman and the wolf were friends. The woman sent the rescued pig to Blaise in prison for food. Blaise ate the rescued pig.
The seven women who followed Blaise after his first torture collecting drops of his blood, are a story on to themselves. Miraculously, when tortured, they bled milk. Whereupon their heads were severed—for they had survived the furnace; the fire would not burn with them inside—and they departed to Heaven.
The governor gave the order to cast Blaise into the pond. But Saint Blaise made the sign of the cross over the waters of the pond and at once they became as firm as dry earth. And the saint said: “If your gods are true gods, give proof of their power by walking upon this water!” And sixty-five men walked into the water and were drowned. An angel came to Blaise, to call him out of the pond.
The governor sentenced Blaise to be beheaded. And the saint, before offering his neck to the headsman, prayed that anyone suffering from ailments of the throat who should implore his aid, might be heard and healed. And a voice from Heaven said to him that his prayer was granted. Then the saint was beheaded and two children—of one of the women who bled milk—with him. This martyrdom took place about the year of the Lord 287.
Happy New Year from the Rowers team! Join us at the Central on January 5 for our first event of 2015, featuring Ava Homa, Jerry Levy, Carrianne Leung, Lee Maracle and Blaise Moritz. Doors open 6:30pm, readings start at 6:50pm sharp. Evening ends at 8:45pm.
We gratefully acknowledge financial assistance from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, The Writers’ Union of Canada, The League of Canadian Poets
Ava Homa is a writer, teacher and editor who lives in Toronto. Her collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land (TSAR, 2010), was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Conner Short Story Prize and secured a place among the ten winners of the 2011 CBC Reader’s Choice Contest, running concurrently with the Giller Prize. The book has been translated into Kurdish and Farsi.
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I enjoyed speaking with John Herbert Cunningham this past Sunday on his program, Speaking of Poets, on Winnipeg’s CKUW 95.9 FM. You can hear the program, which includes readings from both Zeppelin and Crown and Ribs, through this post but I also encourage you to subscribe to John’s podcast to hear Canadian poets sharing their work with him every week.