Friday, April 20, 2018

Saying the Names With Love

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, Ahousat,
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 grey 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 Opitsaht,
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 canoe
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

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.

For my prompt at Real Toads: Saying the Names With Love, to write a poem after the style of Al Purdy, naming the places in one's heart. Which, for me, needless to say, is Clayoquot Sound. I wrote the original of this poem in years when I lived away from my heart's home, with all the pain of remembering the glory of my life here in those years. I was pretty sure i wouldn't be able to write another to equal it, so i refurbished it.

Also sharing with the good folks at Poets United, in the Poetry Pantry. 


  1. you took me on a journey full of images well done Sherry

  2. Our home, a paradise in the wilds and it's history too. Thousands of years before the settlers and our challenge to protect it. Now the fish farms will go and our waters will be clear and free. This poem expresses so well what it is to live, really LIVE and run free!

    1. Jane, i am touched that you are reading my poems. Thank you!

  3. What a beautiful portrait you have painted of the island paradises. I have been there and remember how wonderful it was. My daughter lives near your area and I would love to send her a copy of this poem if I have your permission. You has often spoken in awe of places she's been. She especially enjoyed camping in Tofino. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful journey with us.

  4. You make me wanna fly all the way over there to see you!πŸ’œ "Hear the eagle's call,hear the waterfall singing at Tofino Creek"... wow!!πŸ’œ

  5. I love it!!! Say the names!!!

  6. Indeed- these are places to cherish. A beautiful write!😊

  7. You have some great names to work with, and I'm glad to know them. And your ending is so powerful.

  8. Your best poem and my new favorite so far. I love the stanza that begins with "My heart will say
    these names
    for as long as I live..." This is such a powerful and loving ode to this land you love so much. I am awed.

  9. Sherry, you have been (if this is truly you, or poetic license?) to places I didn't dream of being. Your next last verse rings true,
    "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

  10. Clearly a beautiful place, and I love the rhythm that built up in the poem, like a chant.

  11. Your love affair with this soul, spirited, spiritual sacred space, breathes, resonates, sings its song. Both hymn and dirge, for the love now away, but the love with always be carried in the waves, along the shores, and in every breath you breathe, Sherry, truly, blessed and at peace - for this is you, sweet soul -
    thank you for sharing your intimacy and one of your great loves with us here -
    this is by far, the absolutely best, most passionate and stellar poem I've ever read, as by your pen. πŸƒ

  12. Yes, tongue twisters! Say it all before they are gone! Good choices Sherry!


  13. when I die,
    say these names over me
    and bury me on a windswept dune
    beside the sea...

    That whole stanza is magnificent as are the images throughout.

    And that zinger of a last line!... I am so glad you are living by all of this once again.

  14. It is so important to remember the names of the places that reach out to us and touch our soul,


  15. The names are attached to places, and the land, rivers, mountains, coasts reside in the heart.
    My eagle sees your eagle, friend.

  16. I love the names you're saying ... we need to say the names over and over to know how precious they are... you cannot give up on them

  17. Luv that you said the names and gavd us a peek into the goings on of nature in your places. Happy you shared your places with us


  18. What a superb trip you took me on, Sherry! I love the names of your coastline - the wonderful sounds, inlets, channels and passages - from the air it must look like filigree! I imagine Sulphur Passage as having bright yellow sands.I love the 'fishermen repeating the beloved names above the static', which reminds me of the shipping forecast here in the UK, about which many poems have been written. The lines
    'where the grey whales
    stop to feed....
    riding out in a zodiac,
    the seaspray in my face'
    remind me of one of my favourite films, 'Whale Rider'. Another part of your poem that reminds me of the UK is:
    'Rain slickers and rubber boots,
    the endless winter rain, and gusts of wind'.

  19. Sherry this is a heartfelt song to the land sung as a cry for sanity. I feel your love for the place and your pain for what could befall it.The stanza about your death and the saying of the names over you is stunning.

  20. Sherry this was such a deeply touching song to our home.... and reminds me to continue to say the names of place, of species of people long extinct and forgotten....

  21. Beautiful journey, Sherry ! Loved it.
    "Say the names" - this is going to play in my head for a long time..

  22. Sherry, i totally enjoyed reading this poem, it's , how to put it, exhilarating. all those names, and the images!

  23. there is so much poetry in the names and are lovely to hear - receiving you loud and clear Sherry
    "like the marine radio
    my heart was once attuned to,

  24. You know,Sherry, often times when I see a long piece of poetry it can leave me daunted, however, for me you've written yet another poem that held all of my attention to the final full stop. Excellent.

  25. Your poem took me back a few years, Sherry. It made me remember some of the weird and wonderful places I came across in Canada. I really fell in love with your country.
    And I can truthfully say I've literally been to 'Paradise'.

  26. Oh I remember this poem, Sherry. Even more beautiful than the original. 😊

  27. An epic Canadian work - powerful, stirring and transformative. The writing here, is stunning, Sherry. This is an important piece.

    Love those names ~~~ sigh ~~~

  28. When I went to Disneyworld, one of my favorite rides was Soarin', a simulation of traveling the world in a handglider. That's what this poem reminded me of - getting to see beautiful majestic sights through new perspective to appreciate their beauty all the more. This was a thrilling ride.

  29. I can feel your love of all these places as you say their names and validate them as treasures.
    So glad you in Tofino again.

  30. Such a beautiful poem Sherry... will all the places we love soon be gone..such a terrifying thought!

  31. One of the sad parts about the fight to preserve the Earth is the lack of government responsibility to ensure such precious places are preserved regardless of what lies under the ground or grows on it which in fact should be considered more valuable. May your voice echo in the ears of those who can preserve our Earth.

  32. You have been blessed in knowing such beautiful places . A vivid travelogue.


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