Tilted Equilibrium is from Hidden Brook Press (c) 2006


The poems in Tilted Equilibrium will knock you off-kilter, pitch you over the handlebars and into the mud, tickled by dazzle, splashed in the loblolly of language, word-spiced by varieties of experience as you move from girlhood, through adolescent awakening, to childbirth, motherhood, and onto the bittersweet triumphs and disappointments of adulthood. As you read, you might weep a tear of sorrow, a tear of joy, a tear to bless us all as we are caught up in the beautiful salt-washed benedictions of the human predicament. As Kate Marshall-Flaherty writes by way of a self-embrace in the closing lines of her coda:

Oh teardrop

become a benediction

may your purging water

mist of celestial

your bright white dust be

left like manna

powderfine blessing of salt.

  • John B. Lee, Poet Laureate of Brantford


Kate Marshall-Flaherty has skilfully sewn her poetic homilies into a circular quilt of slanted perceptions that illuminate realities as wistful as a dandelion seeds and as magnificent as grief. The light falls on every well chosen word. — Linda Rogers, People’s Poet 2000

Tilted Equilibrium

Sample poems from Tilted Equilibrium

Take notice—


the bug on the pavement, curl of leaf,

prism refracted in a popsicle drip.

Such strange love, and praise.

(Whisper this secret to another,

repeat this and

                 repeat this

in a mirror until it changes

like a funfair, rippling, stretched

big as life!)


Then just when tickled by the dazzle,

press your handheel into your eye sockets

until darkness goes redblack.

Stay in this place of

staying in this place,

a little longer still.    Wait until

you glimpse that jagged flash

of colours arcing across your retina. . .


Turn this picture upside-down,

shake the coins from your pocket.

Punching down the warm dough

gives rise to yeast energy,

like the    outgasp

needed to draw in air

when the wind’s been knocked out of you.


Pitched off my bike!

I sit on the pavement, sun

in my salted eyes,

inhalation deep as a bellylaugh,

robin redbreast after a shower,

first birthday balloon.

Surrounded by light.


The mud and spittle

falling away in flakes, and me

look: no hands!


Tink! tink! tink!

this is the sound of the buzzyfur

angry droning hornet

as she bangs her helmet head

again and again against

the hot lightbulb

in my dull rose-soapy bathroom.


She circles with blind eyes

smashing against glass

stupidly snoring her buzz

bonking the thick wall only

inches from the open door.

Her whine fills the still room

and heats it up with her angry waspishness.


I shall call her jealousy.