Two Poems from blue gait

November 9, 2021

Poet shauna paull's rich and meditative second book of poetry blue gait (Mother Tongue Publishing) offers witness to another way of living where human and material concerns are not at the centre of things, articulating the salient issues and sorrows of global communities. Here is sung the labour of our elders, environmentalists, of daughters and lovers, elements and simple gifts made by hands, songs to answer our longing for a loving place in the failing loom of our generous planet. Read on for two poems from blue gait and praise for the book. 

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carry my hand at the breathline


where the rumor of lightening            rustles

flesh-curl of scar or talisman

carry my hand in that place


it is night         we are walking            no

moon   only     stray spilt

beadlight of stars

                                          we are walking

my bare feet    under the folded notes of water

from whose edge I breathe  and

rarer    sing


you wear your shoes   laced up   careful

step lightly on dry sand          its tympani as you move

subtle             though your bones ache

as boughs of apple of pine


it is night                     we are walking

carry my hand      there

where lightening has struck            rung you


where the crack of a truth       blue-lit wiry              

startles the dark           opens the hushed field           


carry my hand            



where breathline

                                    where waver

where night


where              we





deep heat         and I walk out

wildfires worry vertebrae           stack and heave


                             215                         children

     Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc


I walk out             speechless

chest of fish hooks           hanger wire

lead-boned           old knowledge haunts material


a trick of light               path flashes red

each step             flash

each step             red


            sunlight brash     blinds     bewilders


even light conspires with mourning

even earthborne path


black cottonwood rises up     

across all logics of gravity                  rises up



seed-fruit in blue hands of air





Praise for shauna paull


Gentle and strong, these haunting poems offer space as a balm for tense and troubled times: with delicate precision, the pages of this book ask us to witness injustice, and to contemplate the power of beauty. What harms us, what heals?"–Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of Bramah and The Beggar Boy

"Flowing like a clear stream, nourishing us with quiet ceremony and care for our ancestors, the poems in this book share the 'wide-hipped work of love.' 'Brave as moonlight,' shauna paull makes space and time for humble loves and the joys of everyday life, irrepressible despite the systemic violence of the toxic colonialism that surrounds us. In the face of grief and loss, her words sing us back to life, again and again." –Rita Wong, author of Current Climate

“shauna paull’s melodious works in blue gait express embodiment through relatedness, the wild garden, and the conflict zone. Richly flavoured west coast poetry.”–Joanne Arnott, author of A Night for the Lady

“These poems temper grief scars, radically transition to transformation, desire and lightning joy, both in kneeling before the grace of received forewisdom and as gratitude to what was living light in the life of another. The hyphenated enjambments, like a treasured visionbook, create a technical hinge between realities, from well-considered sorrow, to attentively impassioned happiness, to closely examined commitment, all messaging — courage, clarity of mind, activism, intent to create progressive difference — no small thing.”— Cathy Ford, author of Flowers We Will Never Know The Names Of





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shaunapaull greyscale

shauna paull is a poet, educator and community advocate, and completed her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. blue gait is her 2nd book of poetry, her first book, roughened in undercurrent was published by Leaf Press (2008). Shauna has led creative writing workshops at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, since 2000 and for many different organizations in Vancouver. She currently the coordinates the Deer Lake Artist Residencies for the city of Burnaby. In community, shauna has worked extensively with migrant and refugee women in areas of labour and mobility rights, poverty alleviation and legislative reform. Shauna represented Canada at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2006. Her work can be found in RockSalt, an Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry (Mother Tongue, 2008) Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia (Mother Tongue, 2013) and In All the Spaces: Diverse Voices in Global Women’s Poetry, (Autopress, New Delhi, 2020). She lives in Vancouver.


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