Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain
Shortlisted: Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry (2013)
Book DescriptionThe crows pick at the waste on the asphalt.
The men push jingling shopping carts. Or stand and mimic life
in a prison yard. The wild white swan is dead. Where I caught
trout as a child, no trout swim now. The drives
and crescents gouge ravines, make creeks disappear. Where wild
baby fish run, they run the gauntlet of penned fish. They are eaten alive . . .
—from "Nest of the Swan's Bones"
Russell Thornton's latest collection of poems, Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain, explores powerful, primary human relationships through images of two worlds: the natural and the urban industrial.
Simple grass is the iron of an invisible forging within nature that involves the human creative consciousness. A scavenger alley crow is the universal creative spirit in brutal primordial disguise. A murderously violent father and son are integrated into a single new man who walks "bright as a song in the air." A young daughter flings up her arms to seagulls that "collect up the world, opening it like a door." An infant son fights the “anger in him … the death … with the heaven in living flailing hands."
Intensely personal, Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain reveals how essential human identity reinitiates human consciousness in a participatory universe.
"Russell Thornton writes some of the most skillfully crafted lyrics in Canada."
—Chris Banks, winner of the Jack Chalmers Poetry Award