From Jackpine Sonnets, published by Steel Rail Educational Publishing in 1977. The jackpine sonnet is a genre created by the Canadian poet Milton Acorn (1923–1986). Acorn was the recipient of a Governor General’s Award and the first Peoples' Poet Award. He was born in Prince Edward Island and wrote eighteen books of poetry, six of which were published posthumously. The two sonnets here appear on the occasion of the first Geist Jackpine Sonnet Contest.
Love in the Nineteen Fifties
On that beach with light shifting breaths Of breezes touching us like gentle Curious, strong, all-surrounding presences Watching, and you watching . . . I stuck a gull’s Tailfeather askew ten white degrees Out of perpendicular to match The slant of the nearest sail on that diseased Warm doubt of a day. Grief hope and fury Were all there, speaking tentatively In a jury just met. Wants too early Stirring your blood, vision, nerves and mine Over that tilting token in the sand; Having made a sign, still wanted a sign While low lightblue waves just tapped the island. IN THAT TIME THE WISE RARELY SWORE TO ANYTHING SINCE MOST WORDS WERE LIES U.F.O. Shall I compare you to a u.f.o? You’re just as mysterious. Shall I compare a u.f.o. to you? Those vehicles exist. I saw one sure As the fact you’re gone and I’ve tried Hate as a cure for love In covens of thorn with roses, where I hide From complicated beauty more like yours; Rating my half-cut death as fate When I’d promised fate more future than that. It shone like the sun: but only for an eye Which sought it out; otherwise just a strange Moveable star it was. Nor did it glare Or illuminate the scene around it. Until my look fitted onto that stare Winter had combined all other seasons. On other planets other things change And I’d loved you too long, at most for half a reason