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Arts & Culture(Archives)


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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Words in Motion

“CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON” in not only the title of the Oscar award-winning kung-fu movie, but also a Chinese idiom which means hidden gems. As a Community Strategies (Culture) Coordinator with the Municipality, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering many hidden poets in our region through the Words in Motion poetry program.

On a cold winter night in late February, 5 poetry lovers, the judges of Words in Motion, gathered in the Future Forward office to review the 270 amazing poems submitted by residents and students in Fort McMurray, Anzac and Conklin. After much deliberation, 63 poems were selected. I am excited to highlight some of these poems here. Perhaps, you will be surprised to know that the poets are actually your neighbour, your co-worker, or your business client.

Jody Pratt, a realtor, has a few poems being selected by the judges. I would like to ask Mr. Pratt: are you a musician too?

Sonata Cantata

Was today Mozart to rise
and craft songs to our lives
would he discard the Orchestra,
favoring dub-step to mandala?
Save the man, peculiar face;
acts like Tesla whilst named Amadeus.
A life in shock, the same tune
in an altered state and place,
whence his music be replaced
with invention over grace.
Instruments encased in history;
a sonata erased musically for,
us to adore his cantata score eternally.

—Jody Pratt

Local artist Sharon Cordes Okrasa submitted several poems but this one touched me the most, for I have done exactly the same thing as she wrote:


When I’m alone
as I am today

I put all your memories
on my face
And look at myself
in the mirror.

Nice smile Mom.

—Sharon Cordes Okrasa

My mom tends to worry a lot, about everything. She probably has passed that gene onto me too. So this “Worry Stone” caught my eye among the 270 poems received.

The Worry Stone

Slipping from my pocket
It fell so casually
The stone I’d long kept for worry
The stone that kept track of me

It bounced with no intention

Before an ambiguous sea
Where a thousand stones conceal it
And the worry I held is free.

—Kimberly Fiske

Many participants submitted 10 poems, which is the maximum number of entries per person. Sometimes, it’s very easy to tell that the poems are written by the same person, as they are in similar style, theme, format or use of language. However, Cathy Yard, a poet, an amazing poet I should say, has 7 poems selected by the judges. Every piece of her work is so different, so unique and so distinct. If this one made you cry, you know whom you should blame.

Conversation Going Nowhere

As I knelt by your graveside, thoughts of your
coolness licked against my fiery skin. I traced
the S’s of your name, chased the moss from
the curves of earth’s granite. Your hand upon
my shoulder, slipped past—
a breath of displaced air, disguised
in a sigh.

I wanted to tell you that Gerry finally came home. Four paws
clicking and tail hung low. Thought you might
want to know. Deer ate the tulips again, a young doe
with twins. Tiny spotted things.

I wanted to ask where you put the instructions
for the furnace. It’s mighty cold this spring: the bees
might not hatch. And where’s the edging shovel,
the green handled one?

I wanted to know, if I‘d said sorry, would
you have left in such a fury? Would you have paused
long enough to scratch Gerry behind the ears? Long enough
to fasten the gate? And in that moment
robbed fate of her early morning meal?

—Cathy Yard

The last one I’d like to share is a Chinese poem. You may say I’m biased. Yes, I am. Some people even asked me: hey, is that you who wrote that Chinese poem? Well, I’ll let you figure it out.

Chinese Version

漫步池塘邊 享受著夏天
微風 晴天 擁抱陽光
慢慢地 輕柔地 靜靜地
游著 浮著 穿梭於蘆葦間
池塘結冰時 雁兒何處去?

靜坐陽台上 欣賞著秋天
涼風 藍天 輕吻陽光
樹已變金黃 瑰麗地印在腦海中
傻傻地 胡亂地 瘋狂地
吹著 捲著 與黃葉一起散落
心靈結霜時 我該何處往?

English Version


I walked along the pond in Eagle Ridge
A beautiful summer day to enjoy
Clear sky, fresh breeze, embracing sun
Houses inverted, crisply imprinting on the water
Occasionally rippled by the geese
Slowly, gently, quietly
Swimming, drifting, weaving
Between the reeds
Where do they go when the pond is frozen?
Perhaps they all fly to the south

I sat on my patio in Eagle Ridge
A peaceful autumn day to relax
Blue sky, cool breeze, kissing sun
Trees turned golden-yellow, gracefully imprinting on my mind
Suddenly came the wind, evoking my emotions and memories
Silly, wildly, crazily
Blowing, swirling, falling
Together with the leaves
Where should I go when my heart and soul are frosted?
Perhaps follow the geese.

—Ai-Mei Li

There is also a funny poem titled “House Gecko, May I Ask?” written by Reinalie Jorolan in Tagalog (a Filippino language), a romantic poem in Gujarati language by Dipti Patel, and many wonderful French poems by the École Boréal students. I wish the editor of YMM would give me more space to showcase all these amazing poems here. But thanks to the unlimited cyberspace, I have all the poems posted on the RMWB Words in Motion blog. Check this out and see if your neighbour, your co-worker, or your business client is actually a crouching tiger or hidden dragon:


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