• Still No Word

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    Still No Word Shannon Webb-Campbell Breakwater Books

    Harvest Your Heart

    When you arrive at this loneliness write a letter to each lover and examine what was taken. Remind them with memories and pinpoint subtle ways they touched you. Recall the way they buttered your toast and spread your thighs.

    Bring them to your tower, where you’ve been hiding since you left them, learning and unlearning, doing and undoing, covering and recovering. Cup your hands over their eyes and linger until anxiety turns to ease, familiarity.

    You know the years have worn on them; they’ve worn on you, too.

    Give them a moment to adjust, to take in the view. Ask them to bear witness to your shame, a transformation of pain, reclaimed.

    Tell them of the centuries you’ve spent grieving. Give them, and yourself, mercy. Apologize before a harvest moon. Set right what can be set right and finally drop what you couldn’t let go of. Hold your own hand, and kiss your palms goodnight.

    Love again, this stranger in you. Set a table for two and forget to blow out the candles before bed. Burn down the house and build anew.


    Other Waves of Thought

    these spirits of place
    are ancient

    you remember landscapes
    remember you

    every view holds memory
    all horizons meet the horizon within

    quiet mind
    quiet body
    there is nothing more to this

    from this shore to that
    avoid rocks, bottom,
    high winds and water
    it calls lightning to its breast

    these rituals
    meditations of undoing
    all of us breath


    Tell Me Medicine Woman, Who do I Belong to?

    once I was a fatherless daughter
    now I come from a landless band
    from west coast newfound land
    where earth meets coast

    I am an Irish-named river
    born close to a mountain
    married to the ocean
    uncertain of my sense of place
    now father’s last name echoes
    on the wind

    I am Qalipu Mi’kmaq
    product of the Indian Act
    he’s a man of few words
    has never built a teepee
    shingles suburban houses
    only ladder touches ground

    I try to sing to you
    in Gaelic, English,
    French and Mi’kmaw
    but don’t know your languages

    you were hunter, trapper
    healer, and bootlegger
    a midwife to seven hundred babies
    around Bay of St. Georges

    you travelled by dog team
    horse, sled, and snowshoes
    to expectant mothers
    father says you were small,
    only four feet tall

    you bring gifts –
    eagle feathers, rock, tree bark ‒
    to remind me of a place
    in the possibilities,
    woman, you are mighty

    Still No Word
    by Shannon Webb-Campbell
    $16.96, paperback, 96 pp.
    Breakwater Books, March 2015

  • Shannon Webb-Campbell is the inaugural winner of Egale Canada’s Out in Print Award and was Canadian Women in Literary Arts 2014 critic-in-residence. Still No Word (Breakwater Books, 2015) is her first collection of poems.


    1. These few are beautiful. They are evocative of so much with so few words. Thank you.

      Where can I get your book?

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