Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Saying the Names With Love

Clayoquot Sound
photo credit: heartbreakercharters.com

Say the names say the names
and listen .........
these names that forever
sing through my soul,
that came alive for me
in the forests and along the wild shores
of Clayoquot Sound.

Bedwell Sound and Lemmens Inlet
Fortune Channel and Sulphur Passage
those names ring through my heart
in kinship with those who put
their bodies on the line
- and still do -- No Pasaran!-
to protect this endangered ecosystem.

Drumbeats in the early morning
along the Kennedy River bridge
still tap tap tap in my heart
along with my passion
for the trees, for the wild shores,
for the curving slopes
of my wild spirit's home.

Hesquiaht, Ashousat,
Kakawis, Bay of Berries,
sound and resound in my heart,
like the marine radio
my heart was once attuned to,
fishermen repeating the beloved names
above the static, laughter and messages
and "Choo!" - the Tla-o-qui-aht goodbye.

Wickaninnish and Rosie Bay and Combers,
Ahous Bay, where the gray whales stop to feed....
riding out in a zodiac, the seaspray in my face,
the eagle's cry in my heart,
blue herons on the rocks,
little puffins bobbing on the waves -
every inch of land and sea and sky

Rain slickers and rubber boots,
the endless winter rain, and gusts of wind
that bent us over as we struggled
across the streets in winter gales
and the wild wild roar of the waves
crashing on the shore,
while the foghorn mooed at Lennards Light
and all the seabirds hid themselves
to ride out the storm.

Lone Cone standing tall,
and Catface Mountain,
peeping across at the
womanly slopes of Meares,
the sentinels and guardians of our village,
orcas breeching in the channel
to our joyous shouted "thank you!"
and, across the bay,
the twinkling lights of Opitsat,
little boats chugging back and forth
across the harbor,
heading for home at twilight.

Say the names of the wild Megin River,
carving itself through root-packed shores
of cedar and salal,
and watch the wild wolves pacing down to drink,
a black bear ambling along the shore
looking for wild salmon.

Hear the eagle's call,
hear the waterfall singing at Tofino Creek,
or point the bow of your kayak
up the Cypre River.
Paddle hard for Browning Passage,
beat the tide,
or turn off along Tofino inlet,
when the tide returns to cover the mudflats.
Pull into the cove at Windy Bay.

Say the names say the names
and my heart weeps with love
for the otherworldly beauty
and the kinship with the wild
that lived inside my soul
when I lived there,

at one with the wind and the tides.

My heart will say these names
for as long as I live
and, when I die,
say these names over me
and bury me on a windswept dune
beside the sea,
so it can forever sing me to sleep
in my heart's home.

Say the names say the names
cherish these wild and pristine places
Stand against the mining companies,
and those who would clearcut and strip
these beloved and necessary slopes.

Say the names, my friends,
before they all
are gone.

a remake of an earlier poem, in the style of Al Purdy's famous poem, "Say the Names," posted for my prompt at Mid-Week Motif at Poets United : Saying the Names of the places we love, the names that take us home.


  1. I love the naming of the names, those places pure & pristine, untouched by machine & mining companies ~ A very meaningful challenge Sherry ~

  2. Sherry, the names of the places that you love roll off my tongue as I read them, and may they live on in your mind and heart forever. Some of them are sound magical - such as Catface Mountain and Fortune Channel. I think I would especially enjoy visiting those. Smiles.

  3. I wondered where Tofino would fit in your lovely name poem, Sherry. Smiles. Your poem makes me want to travel and I think Bay of Berries would be my first stop.

  4. a lot of companies would without even bending their eyebrow destroy the most wonderful nature places in the name of profit. glad when there's someone to stand up for nature

  5. So many names to say. I bet it sounds good read to a drumbeat.

  6. Many names to say but if we do not, who will remember?

    Loved this and must check out this prompt.

  7. Timely, as I've been learning about the different names; I want to learn the Tla-o-qui-aht name for Meares Island and Mt. Colnett as these were basically colonialists who helped spread smallpox. It's going to be challenging to get used to using the original names; the one for Frank Island I can't pronounce. It's wrong in my view that this province is still called British Columbia. Thinking, thinking....

  8. so delighted to find Tofino there, seemed like an old friend to me..."Say the names, my friends, / before they all / are gone."....don't really understand why the humans can't respect all life forms...sigh...

  9. This is so beautiful... it feels like a trip down memory lane :D as I read through the poem I felt like I was there with you! Beautifully penned :D

    Lots of love,

  10. Yes this is stunning Sherry. Those places which we remember as part of us are inside us still.

  11. Yes keeping names alive often keeps the place and feeling alive..and those names are so poetic and flow like a wind or gentle river

  12. very important to Listen, in the din of everyday living

    have a nice Wednesday

    much love...

  13. This is so beautiful. All the places you mentioned brought a smile on my face. I could feel the wind, rain and the sun. And the poem flowed like a beautiful song.

  14. Oh I love this. it's a prayer for all these places as sumbols for all those other places that need love and protection. How wonderful that you enjoyed them, lived them as they now live in your memory. This is a fantastic poem Sherry.

  15. That drumming in the heart sounds all through this poem. May your plea be answered!

  16. Say the names and they come alive..so vivid in your words..thanks for taking me on the journey.

  17. Wow - this is EPIC, Sherry! A vivid tribute, an incantation of sorts. Fabulous work :)

  18. An amazing poem, so sweeping just like the province where you live.

  19. The world is filled with jaw-dropping sights, but a few of them could just disappear in as little as a few decades....So many Must See destinations....and so little time! :(
    Beautiful and inspiring poem, sherry! Love this...

  20. I love the portion with the drumbeat that resonates with the heart beat and the foghorns...I LOVE the sound of the foghorns. This is a work of art, Sherry and Soul...so special!

  21. Nice one, Sherry. I like the rhythm of the drumbeat and the indigenous names that bring to mind the great conservation tradition of the local original inhabitants of these areas.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!