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Gaby’s Trees

by Elizabeth Greene

           In memory of Gabrielle Sims

A year after her death
I open Gaby’s sketchbooks.
A year of illness.
A year of trees.
On each page
they sweep upward,
knowing in their trunks and branches,
their souls visible in the charcoal drawings.

I draw a card from the Minoan Tarot,
Arcana XX1,
The World Tree, body of the Goddess,
butterfly priestess on one arm,
lion on a pedestal on the other.
At the base two bird priestesses
and a young brown god.

Reminder that trees are guardians,
stitch together earth and sky,
their roots essential
to life underground,
branches stretching
for news from the wind.

About this Poem

Elizabeth Greene has published three collections of poetry and a novel, A Season Among Psychics. She has also edited/co-edited six books, most recently The Dowager Empress: Poems of Adele Wiseman. A fourth poetry collection is scheduled to appear from Inanna in 2023. Before turning to writing full-time, she taught English at Queen’s. She retired teaching Contemporary Canadian Women Writers, a course she originated.

About the Poetry Blackboard

The Poetry Blackboard showcases poems curated by Kingston's Poet Laureate and written by Kingston poets. There's a new poem every month, written by poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston. Started in 2015 by Helen Humphreys, the Poetry Blackboard has been continued since 2019 by Jason Heroux.

We wish to thank Helen Humphreys, Kingston's second Poet Laureate, for her generous support of emerging and established poets in Kingston through library programming and our Poetry Blackboard project. Throughout her four years as Poet Laureate, Helen curated a digital collection of poetry to showcase the talents of local creators of all ages, both historic and contemporary. Helen also offered several opportunities for emerging poets to develop their craft, offering group workshops and one-on-one mentorship. Her active engagement with the library and community has been greatly appreciated.

In 2019 we welcomed the incoming Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, who continues to curate the Poetry Blackboard and to develop new community programming.

Previously Published Poems