Blue Feast examines motherhood, marriage, and the nature of everyday life. In these original, engrossing poems Lemay delves into universal feelings of isolation and the painfulness of writing. Her poetry strains between light and dark, exultation and sorrow.
“This is a must-read book that dares to poetically address accessible universal human realities like motherhood, marriage and other similar personal and domestic journeys. Of course, like good still life paintings, while the subject matter might seem mundane, it’s a highly dramatic form (literally a mini-theatrical mise-en-scene crossed with an altar-piece) that an agile artist like Lemay can endlessly plumb for greater (if subtle) political and philosophical ends.”
- Gilbert Bouchard
“a thoughtful meditation on the ephemeral and the numinous that reside in the corners of everyday domestic life…an abundant book, overflowing with emotion and ideas.”
- Alison Pick, Globe and Mail
From Blue Feast:
It happens so easily. I should be glad.
That I have the aptitude.
The simplest things break my heart now.
the heft of shells skinned from the boiled eggs.
The gray kitten staring out the window at falling snow.
Words crossed out in a letter
so that even the dots and loops and crosses are blotted.
In the evening
I am untouched by the sun's
bleeding face scraping the horizon.
And in the darkness I wonder how a being
becomes so cold.
My heart breaks easily.
But it never dithers.
It jumps back to the queue
hoping to volunteer as witness for the lesser
of whatever heartbreaks are to be handed out that day.
Yes. That you are shattered
when you have a child.
And every birthday each
shattered piece of you
When she comes running
When we are apart, with every fathom.
When she gets out a bowl,
some cereal, milk.
The light enters sharp
through so many angles
when you have a child.
It is as though
you are constantly raised
above ground and let go.
The hard earth you begin to know intimately.
Such exhaustion and joy.
That there are too few metaphors for marriage
or that I'd heard too few.
And that mine was right before me
that marriage is a still life.
I awoke to this thought and it seemed daring
but why I could not yet muddle toward.
There are the constant imperceptible adjustments
to get the composition just so
then waiting for the light
to illuminate the bric-a-brac that means nothing much
to deepen the shadows on the underbellies
of apples and whatnot.
Then something must be taken away
for use in the kitchen
or a child races headlong into the room
and upsets the balance
a wine glass tips over and the rug is bathed in red
the lilies have dropped too many petals
the vase is cracked, damaged
though not beyond repair.
And this replaced with that and the other
until now the colours are all off.
It must begin again.
But once it was perfect and can be again so.
It had been serene and full of tension at once.
There was a mischief about the scene
a hint of uncomposure.
Now in a jumble one sees only the mundane
certainly the unmagical.
The eyes are lost in the moth-eaten pavilion of dailiness.
The rapture of the mundane is that it is unsuspected
that it is itself
One turns to it and turns.
And there it is.
The sturdy table is seen again.
One takes particular note of the way
things have a knack for settling in
hunkering down with a difficult poise.
How that alone
The silence of the objects
which speaks to the centre of the whole set-up
carries the centre off the table, carries it through.
Here I come to the bleakness
the constant scene of dying
her I come to the daring part
which I see now is not daring at all
and anyone in such a marriage will find herself smiling
at the thought of the blemishes and broken stems
at the thought of this perishing feast
for the starved
which does in the end