Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gregory Monteith

Gregory Monteith is a writer of poems, stories, travel articles, a play, and a novel. His first collection of poetry, Haeretica, was published in China in 2006. His poems have been published in Hammered Out, Street, and online at His poem, "These Words", was nominated for a Hamilton Literary Award in 2006. Born in Hamilton, having graduated from McMaster University in 2003, Gregory has spent the last three years writing,teaching, and traveling in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. He recently completed Teachers College at Brock's Hamilton campus and is currently teaching summer school outside of Hong Kong. Haeretica is available at Bryan Prince Bookseller, Mixed Media, Shady Grove, Barone Books, and The Book Cellar in Hamilton, Chapman Books in Dundas, the Green Room in Cambridge, and Fanfare Books in Stratford, Ontario. Gregory may be contacted by email at


From the woods I pulled you,
Wild bud amid the weeds,
To the garden in my yard
I brought you,
Offered new soil
Black and moist,
Fertile for the faithful,
A sunny place in the corner,
Where I could watch you
From my morning window,
Write poems of you on sunless days,
Draw pictures of you under clearer skies,
Metaphors to elevate,
Colours brighter than human eyes.

Your bloom came as a curtain reveals,
Showed me inside your fresh-coloured core,
Your fragrance enlightening,
And the soft skin of your petals,
Sun and dew-filled pores.

You flowered in my garden.

When the rains came
And the winter froze,
The soil tired and hardened,
Soon to fill with snow,
I pulled you from my garden,
Trying to save your roots,
Having thought them stronger,
Mislead the time through.

I emptied a shelf,
Found a place for you,
Until the spring could come,
When I would open the window
And watch you bring the light through.
But I was too late,
The season had changed
We'd left too much
Back in those wilder plains.
I'd expected more than you could give,
And when left wanting,
Still asked for more, too much,
For this was not your home,
Your garden,
Where you could thrive untouched.

Flower, born wild,
I gave you a home,
I gave you a hell,
Reach now beyond my window's witness,
And may these roots hold you well.


I plot to replace my garden
With oceans perhaps
Or sculptures of stone,
One place for the seasonless,
Filled with my own.
No graves to dig,
Or petals to unfold,
Without blossoms to regret,
Mourning their momentary hold,
Sapping my attention
With their dependent tendrils.
A place where I wouldn't have to free them,
From the walls they needed me to build,
Leave the gardens of beauty to the wild,
Where the flowers belong to themselves,
Where I but pass among them,
Return to my yard,
And my own deeper well.

Seek not your redemption
In a Proserpine,
You are the king of these emboldened depths,
Not a slave to dependent kind.
Release your once sweet Eurydice
It's not for you to leave her behind.
The myths that enlighten and drive
Are not subject to season or time,
So I learn from them,
And keep my throne in the fore,
Home to the persecuted outcasts,
Where my edicts aren't ignored.
And I look to my many faces for advisors,
Rather than lost loves of yore.

In my garden I bend the seasons at will,
No place for you to grow,
The seeds of my shaping time,
Are but for me to sow.


At what point
Do fingerprints disappear
From all the objects
Collected over a lifetime.

Do the prints age,
Do they erode,
With our bodies.

All the things
No longer thinging,
He left behind
For us to mix together
In boxes,
Hidden along back walls
Of garages,
Sheds and attics,
Making random
What he had placed
Carefully on shelves,
Telling stories of where and when
He'd accrued them.

Forgotten some stories,
Know others too well,
Making junk of his treasures.

Left behind,
For our dust,
And our rust,
For the more hospitable insects,
The great collectors
of our forgottens
and waste.

Garage sales,
Sold cheaply,
Prices like giving it away,
Only cheaper.

You've given away his fingerprints,
You've washed your own hands.
Crystal waters,
Without fish.

He gave these objects life,
Fingerprints of their own,
Now they are thingless
Without him.

Now we have buried him,
of our affection.


Before the history is written,
Before nostalgic monuments
Of ideal youth days,
A raw mosaic
Of hurt moments and memories,
Shared years lost amid the emergency.
And now,
There is hurt no longer,
Nothing hurts as it should.

Beyond the pain
The idea remains clear,
The purpose feels not,
Survive by moving on,
Passing those who cry
For what is lost.

Examining the specimen
In a clean white coat,
The package labeled "loved".
Her pain immeasurable
Has left her upturned,
Turning her gently once more,
Laying her down on each side,
A mound of flesh,
Flavoured with blood and salt tears.

Circling the table,
The altar of sacrifice,
To gain all perspectives.
She breathes in and out,
She curves lusciously,
But the purpose remains clear,
The ideal breathes not,
Her time is served.

To understand what makes people feel,
The insecurities,
Reddening eyes,
Reddening the chart,
A rush to hypothesize,
Impatient to move ahead
With the verdict.

These people are images
That age and disappear,
The ideals are ageless altars,
Drawing the sacrifices
Of the hollow.

Call him empty,
Call him robotic,
Call him emotionless,
Call him cold and monstrous
And whatever makes sense to you,
But don't call out to him,
For he's in a meeting
With Adolf Schicklgruber of the avant-garde.

Add your findings to the report
For analysis and debunking,
But flowers will remain food,
The river's flow harnessable energy,
The faithful, having a reason.
The ideals inhuman and eternal.

The ideal reaching beyond the needy grasp,
Verdict of the self,
Beyond the trial,
Self-imposed exile.


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