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Thursday, September 1, 2011


A Book of Snow
     for Norma
Driving across frozen Ontario
to be with you on St. Valentine’s Day
I pass the unblemished white of farmsteads,
their great barns brimming with livestock and warmth,

and miles of buried fields awaiting spring’s touch.
The sky’s a cathedral of light, a place
where only the impossible happens.
What strength do we have before implacable
nature? Even the green thought of April
grows ever more distant, exiled by
winter’s fierce grip, by snow’s vast solitude.

Yet, every time we make love it’s like our
first time: the sudden shock of your beauty,
of pleasure beyond all expectation.
Your embrace is the song of bells in the night
or the force of an ocean at full tide.

Waking beside you after our night of love,
I want to give you the gift of my life
and February’s book of snow.


Norma West Linder and fiance James Deahl

James Deahl was born in Pittsburgh (USA) in 1945, and grew up in that city as well as in and around the Laurel Highlands region of the Appalachian Mountains.  He moved to Canada in 1970 and holds dual American/Canadian citizenship.  He is the author (or, in the case of Tu Fu, translator) of nineteen literary titles:

Opening The Stone Heart  (Aeolus House, 2010)
No Star is Lost (Lyricalmyrical, 2009)
Love Where Our Nights Are Long (Laurel Reed Books, 2008)
If Ever Two Were One  (Aeolus House, 2008
The River’s Stone Roots:  Two dozen poems by Tu Fu (Serengeti Press, 2005)
When Rivers Speak  (Unfinished Monument Press, 2001)
Blackbirds (Unfinished Monument Press, 1999
Under the Watchful Eye (Broken Jaw Press, 1995)
Tasting the Winter Grapes (Envoi Poets Publications, 1995)
Even This Land Was Born Of Light (Moonstone Press, 1993)
Heartland (Envoi Poets Publications, 1993
Geschriebene Bilder (M + N Boesche Verlag, Berlin, 1990)
A Stand Of Jackpine  (Unfinished Monument Press, 1987)
Into This Dark Earth  (Unfinished Monument Press, 1985)
Blue Ridge (Aureole Point Press, 1985)
No Cold Ash  (Sono Nis Press, 1984)
Steel Valley (Aureole Point Press, 1984)
In The Lost Horn’s Call  (Aureole Point Press, 1982)
Real Poetry (Unfinished Monument Press, 1981)

A cycle of his poems is the focus of a one-hour TV special, Under the Watchful Eye (Silver Falls Video Productions, 1993)  The audiotape of Under the Watchful Eye was released by Broken Jaw Press in September, 1995.  These have been reissued on CD and DVD by Silver Falls.

Audiotapes of him reading Opening The Stone Heart and Blackbirds have been produced in the United States (Sound Seven Studios, 1992 and 1999).

Tasting The Winter Grapes won the Award of Excellence from the Hamilton and Region Arts Council.  In 2001 Deahl was presented with the Charles Olson Award for Achievements in Poetry.  His When Rivers Speak won the Ramada Plaza Hotel Award.

In addition to his writing, he has taught creative writing and Canadian literature at the high school (Norwell District Secondary School), college (Seneca College), and university (Ryerson University) levels.  He no longer teaches, and for the past dozen years has mostly been a full-time writer/editor/translator.

James Deahl lives in Hamilton.  He is the father of Sarah, Simone, and Shona.

          Address:  237 Prospect Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8M 2Z6.

1 comment:

  1. Am trying to reach Mr. Deahl re: copyright permission for two of his verses. Can you direct me to him? The email I sent to has had no response.

    Thank you!


    Valerie Horner