where we are going is from Piquant Press (2009).
The voices of the strong women Kate celebrates in these poems speak as true as morning bells. The echoes of family reverberate like chimes suspended from a tree in a homestead yard. Each poem in her journey is a courageous jumping off, a skilled diving in and a determined wading ashore, and at last, a resting place in bright light and clear air. It is refreshing to know that “where we are going” is a place Kate Marshall Flaherty knows well and is generous in sharing. — James Dewar, editor
I am pleased that my poem, “Sisters” is included in the League of Canadian Poet’s tree poem anthology, Heartwood, for the Love of Trees.
is my frost-tipped
Grade five teacher with her tra-la singsong voice,
dress-shields, Cleopatra sandals,
talk of menstruation
to a class of squeamish giggles.
She lets me present my queen Nefertiti project
with her gold cone hat!
She posts my vita-vita vitamin ad right
out in the hall–
She asks me do I want to be Queen in the play?
and says not to worry, girls can be mean sometimes
especially when it comes to birthdays,
boys and breasts.
the day she beckons me to her desk,
asks would I like
to have her Lucy Maud Montgomery writing journal?
Tells me she believes I will fill it.
And I do.
shush like nurses
I feel your gnarled roots
fingering deep into the earth,
as grounded as I wish to be.
Sisters, you who tickle
heaven with slender tips,
who stand dirt-sure,
may I bask in the cool
shade of your wisdom?
You speak to me whispering
tree-secrets in the language
of lush and leafy greens,
Gifts of breath we give each other.
To me, home
has always been a point ON the Earth,
my childhood house
with its urban backyard,
yet more the body of flesh
than brick and mortar—
This temple of spirit I know
like the whorl of a fingertip scar
or a crescent moon-map in my iris.
I might have made a Mecca
of the Earth, the body, even the mind,
if not for Bev–
It was her face awakening
from a deathbed dream:
I saw what it is like–
to be a cup of water poured into the sea,
to be a slip on a line in the wind,
to be unaware that I am dreaming …
I want to go back there!
I see now.
Home is not here at all—
it is where we are going.