• Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Our Canoe: A Poem for Canada Day 2020

    So much has changed since our last Canada Day.

    Our town has large Canada Day traditions with a parade, festivals, fireworks, live music, delicious food. We invite anyone to join us. Our beach, parks and streets are packed with thousands of people. Last year I read a new poem at Victoria Hall. It is a tradition for the Poet Laureate to share a poem on Canada Day in Cobourg.

    This Canada Day 2020 is quiet. Reflective. Today I feel grateful for a town and a country that so far have done everything they could to keep me safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank-you! Watching the virus spread across the planet and witnessing how governments respond, support, or protect their people has helped to shine a light on our own communities. I feel blessed.

    Since March I’ve thought about my about my ancestors more, wondering what they would think of our world today. Since we can’t come together as a country or a community in the same way this year, I decided to celebrate with all my grandmothers and grandfathers. This Canada Day I want to acknowledge my Métis and Anishinaabe ancestors alongside other Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada.

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  • Paintings

    Poem Paintings

    Over the break I started playing with acrylic paints to create paintings as though they were poems. I had just finished reading Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by  Stephen Nachmanovitch and was inspired to improvise more often. I wanted to show up to the canvas and paint a poem without words. I gave myself permission to paint things I didn’t know how to draw. And then using the paintings, I’ve started writing poems.

    Poem Painting Collection #1: In Transition

    In the Fields
    Being Seen
    In Transition
    Beginnings
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  • Georgian Bay Roots

    What the Bay Saw: Poetry and Photography Video

    Even though we knew this project was happening, it caught us by surprise this summer to see the new wind farm at Henvey Inlet First Nation. I’ve spent my summers among these islands my whole life. Our family picnics were in this area. The photo at the top of this post is taken just across the water from the lighthouse where my grandfather lived as a child.

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  • Love & Energy Spiral

    Thanksgiving

    sun lights red maple
    glowing warmth
    and memory
    summer afternoons gone
     
    crisp breath talks
    to fallen leaves
    collected as treasures
    upon our table
     
    thank-you trees
    and sun and time
     
    children like sunflowers
    energy spirals
    and mindfulness
    winter mornings near
     
    bright appetites linger
    family’s feasting
    savoured as love
    captured in our portrait
     
    thank-you home
    and food and this.

    © Jessica Outram

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  • Principal

    A Poem for the First Day of School

    Back to School
     
    On the first day
    we put on our new school shoes
    travelling back to the future
    knowing our desks soar like jets and
    pencils swim like dolphins.
     
    The first time we hear the bell
    we see our teacher wears a cape,
    super smiles and high fives among
    line-ups and hooks with our names
    beyond this classroom
    on the moon.
     
    We sit quietly not on a carpet or in a chair
    but on a massive drawbridge
    between the forest and the castle
    waiting for a glimpse of a dragon or a knight
    or to be invited to study with a wizard.
     
    At lunch we eat small bites out of boxes
    bouncing to go outside to a jungle
    and run with tigers
    giggle with hyenas and jump with frogs.
     
    We learn to count the days with robots
    (not the boring kind)
    our robots code the world
    and we will use them to change the world
    And: You. Will. Change. The. World.
     
    We ride unicorns in the afternoon
    our thinking and creativity and compassion
    unrestrained and generous.
    We learn outside of walls and boundaries
    guided by curious questions and wonder
    full of possibility.
     
    Tonight when your parents ask
    what did you learn at school today?
    You can say:
    we saved a life
    we created a planet
    we sang and danced beside giants
    we jumped into the centre of the puzzle
    and found algebraic patterns
    in the photosynthesis of numbers
    converting our spunky energy
    into brainy energy that will be released in time
     
    or you will humbly say
    nothing.

    © Jessica Outram

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