Guest poem submitted by Alison Lang:
(Poem #824) The Mysterious Naked Man
A mysterious naked man has been reported on Cranston Avenue. The police are performing the usual ceremonies with coloured lights and sirens. Almost everyone is outdoors and strangers are conversing excitedly as they do during disasters when their involvement is peripheral. 'What did he look like?' the lieutenant is asking. 'I don't know,' says the witness. 'He was naked.' There is talk of dogs--this is no ordinary case of indecent exposure, the man has been seen a dozen times since the milkman spotted him and now the sky is turning purple and voices carry a long way and the children have gone a little crazy as they often do at dusk and cars are arriving from other sections of the city. And the mysterious naked man is kneeling behind a garbage can or lying on his belly in somebody's garden or maybe even hiding in the branches of a tree, where the wind from the harbour whips at his naked body, and by now he's probably done whatever it was he wanted to do and wishes he could go to sleep or die or take to the air like Superman.
I don't know too much about Alden Nowlan, although in Canada he can often be found in the ubiquitous poetry books we have to use for school. We have the mandatory Canadian poetic stalwarts: Atwood, Cohen, Ondaatje, and then there's poor Mr. Nowlan, in the background. Nowlan's poetry has always appealed to me because of its absolute frankness. He is a very honest poet. His writing is sparse but every word seems to go out on a small, lovely errand. Nowlan strikes me as an observer, and much of his poetry recounts everyday events, with a little quirk that makes them instantly extraordinary and unforgettable. He is delightful, and this poem is one of my favorites. It's both funny and poignant, two attributes Nowlan balances easily in his writing. Alison. [Minstrels Links] See the Canadian theme from last month: Poem #781, The Law of the Yukon -- Robert Service Poem #782, National Identity -- F. R. Scott Poem #783, Northwest Passage -- Stan Rogers Poem #784, To a Millionaire -- Archibald Lampman Poem #786, Post-card -- Margaret Atwood Poem #787, Seagulls -- E. J. Pratt Poem #789, The Social Plan -- Stephen Leacock