The Thing With Feathers by Jessica Outram
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
This is a story of becoming whole by reassembling broken pieces of self, holding onto hope in the darkest moments, and seeing everything in a new light.
The Thing With Feathers takes you on an intimate journey of truth, transformation, and healing of spirit. From cherry blossom tree trunks to the shores of Georgian Bay, these poems evoke reverence, recalling past lives and ancestral Metis blood memory passed down from grandmothers.
~ Sarah Lewis, Poet Laureate, Peterborough ON
Poetry that’s both affective and effective in recognizing the power of expression as a means of revealing the human spirit. There is clarity of language in these poems, and in that clarity the reader finds what it means to feel alive.
~ Antony Di Nardo, Poet
Here are poems that “show a way to build belonging.” With clarity and sharp imagery, Outram’s poetry aches with the will to transform. They swirl “beyond the whirlpool of rules” “because it’s all possible.” Slowly, a new self emerges by “breaking down threads / pulled by uncertainty.” Through the deliberate act of seeing, facing, and confronting, a knowing, more integrated self comes to light. A fresh, vivid and heartfelt debut.
—Catherine Graham, Poet, Aether: An Out-of-Body Lyric and The Celery Forest
Water is life. This year for our Earth Day eChapbook, I wanted to invite poets to reflect on the story of water. Poetry helps us to see in different ways. As you read this collection, consider the story of water in your life. How can we protect it? Respect it? What does water have to teach us?
I’m overwhelmed by the number of poems and the diversity of stories. As you read through this collection, pay attention to the ways water changes form, its relationship to people and other elements in nature, and how it travels.
Find a quiet spot, maybe even outside, by the water to read a poem or two as a gift for the water. Let us thank the water for all it has given us.
With this project, we also celebrate National Poetry Month.
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans.” — Kahlil Gibran
The eChapbook was sent out via the Poetry Present subscriber list on Earth Day, Friday April 22, 2022.
The First Day of School On the first day possibilities thrive dreams come alive together we create and relate. Our classroom holds the universe in the eye of each child. We can learn on the moon dancing like a balloon in zero gravity reading about oceans as you float on the boat that was once your chair in a classroom daring to become a jungle. Stretch your words taste each number go outside and notice what’s growing in the schoolyard. Watch closely when the seasons change. Write your story show your friends share who you are and sing with your eyes. Every question is an adventure, an invitation to change the world to be kind, understanding this is what it means to be human. We celebrate being alive with wonder and belonging everyone here a twinkling star in the system of our community.
© Jessica Outram
This poem was revised in September 2021.
A monthly column in Cobourg Now: A Local News Magazine.
Each month features a poem by a local poet and a letter to the poet about poetry and life. My hope is that we can connect more readers to our wonderful poets and that we can encourage people to write poetry.
Each month a link to the column will be added here:
- Poetry is About Discovery (Jenni Burke)
- Poetry is About Connection (Marion Fuessel)
- Reading Poetry Can Connect Us (Doug Langille)
- Story is at the Heart of Poetry (Gwynn Scheltema)
- The Gifts of Poetry in Community (James Pickersgill)
- Poetry Inspired by Geese (Marie-Lynn Hammond)
- Talking to Cats, Birds & Myself (Linda Hutsell-Manning)
- April is National Poetry Month (Antony Di Nardo)
- Poetry is Summertime (Katie Hoogendam)
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.
Last week I received a memorable, thoughtful gift: a poem. I attended the Cobourg Poetry Workshop’s meeting and one of the poets, Doug Langille, had composed this poem. He recited it for us, gave me a copy, and then told me I could share it here.
The first time I saw an art exhibition outdoors was in Stanley Park in Vancouver, summer 2000. Paintings arranged in community circles, framed by open sky, tall trees, and carpets of green grass captured my imagination. I’d much rather meander through rows of art in the garden than walk through a gallery. Maybe it’s the way the sunlight and shadow dances across the canvas. Maybe it’s the way the earth beneath my feet and the breeze through the trees makes me feel more alive. Maybe it’s the quiet conversation the art seems to be having with its surroundings.