Public Artwork

Poetry in Motion

Poetry in Motion, 1999-
Poetry in Motion, 1999-
Calgary, AB, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Text author(s): 
Finley, Robert; Marple,Vivian; Heighton, Steven; Vandervlist, Harry; Wiseman, Christopher; Oliva, Peter; Proulx-Turner,Sharron; Roney, Stephen; Riley, Ali; Wilson, Sheri-D; Reid, Monty; Drummond, Sharon; laRocque, Emma; Birney, Earle; Connelly, Karen; Carr, Robert V.; Sanger, Richard; Trainer, Yvonne; Clark, Arthur; Sternberg, Ricardo; Rhodes, Shane; Zwicky, Jan; Lee., John B.; Harrison,Richard; Priest, Robert; Markotic, Nicole; Marple,Vivian; Wah, Fred; Hilles, Robert; Melnyk, George; Schott, Barbara; Harris, Claire; Pal, Rajinderpal S.; Kroetsch, Robert
Installation year: 
Remarks on location: 

City buses


Poems inside city buses, in the advertising spaces.

Text of the artwork: 

•Departures are always the same. There is the one wave that is the first and the last wave that you notice, the first gentle lift and fall of the dark hull under your feet. And with it the world falls away from you quite suddenly and softly, like a word you have spoken. Whatever your reasons for setting out, a lightness and a loneliness gather under your heart. All about you gather the distances; the remoteness of the stars is there only to remind you of the unsoundable depths touched by the narrow keel, and every morning opens around you the perpetual horizon. - by Robert Finley

•My grandmother asks me if I grew the flowers myself, the breath of her intentions watering the air. The questions underneath are: Do you have a garden, as you ought to? Are you a good woman, as I grew you to be? She will not love the flowers if I did not grow them. She will not hold them until I answer. - by Vivian Marple

•He took her on night-buses and trains so in the shuddering dark when sleep was a far-off destination, he breathed in the mouth of his memory, till the clouding panes shrouded his eyes and the landscape, and the window was a wall, a frieze, unfinished in her absence - by Steven Heighton

•Asulkan Valley: S.R.O. High up runnels entwine, gather, drop Then roar out of the valley's green throat, Rumble in deep diaphragms of rock. Oh it's loud all right. And it never ever stops. An all-night standing O in your local forum. Thank you, and good night. Thank you, thank you. Half the trees are stooped from bowing. Underside of the bridge over Avalanche Creek A microphone registers runoff in decibels, Remotely sense the glacier's mountaintop voice. - by Harry Vandervlist

•THE PHOTOGRAPH By her bed his photograph. And I wonder how many hours They've looked at each other like this - She at the dead torn-away part of her life, He at a now bird-thin grey old lady Once so dark and lovely in his eyes. - by Christopher Wiseman

•The air, fat as glazed donuts The path, herringbone brick riddled with ants A lilac tree chokes quietly beside me until the cord tatters and the Christmas lights pop and the tree breaks free. I can't come to New York just yet but I want you to know I'm busy missing you. - by Peter Oliva

•Dark horses gallop on the mountain trail Their manes crackle; the thunder walks up there - by Sid Marty

•that river those trees that sand those rocks the air the sun the sky they are who give the most along the way is what the auntys say feel the water under the skin the colour of heartroot across the page over and over and over and - by Sharron Proulx-Turner

•Obscurity Is the sound of a writer Losing his nerve. The one thing sadder than remembered joy Is remembered hope. Of all things that terrify cowards, What terrifies most is a brave man. Returning is always a disappointment-- It adds nothing. Unless there is change. And then it adds sorrow No matter where you go for advice, The answer is always the same: "Be like me." - by Stephen Roney

•Backwards in a pickup truck nothing but trees at a crazy angle. - by Ali Riley

•I just can't get enough of you I just can't get enough trying to fit my heart into the shape of a wishbone I'm licked by the love of your slide guitar when longings turn into wind - straining - trying to catch desire as it lifts in the air - holding - I want to hold you - sound pulling a long note - swept - trying to hold onto itself - away - by Sheri-D Wilson

•Ten Years After His Death I Examine A Few Lessons My Father Taught Me A cheese slice is not a slice of cheese. Red sky at night means nothing. Close all gates behind you. at night the porch roof under our window is a shell the rain whispers in and we lie there listening to the wash of our breath in an ocean - by Monty Reid

•I build this boat from dry white bone poking up through summer sand. With my hands I bend aging beams watch long bleached ribs turn To sun she will sail - by Sharon Drummond

•The Red In Winter The blushing river the Cree called her She wears no rouge today She speaks no Cree I ask about her other lifetimes beneath her white mask - by Emma laRocque

•Plaza de Inquisicion A spider's body limp and hairy appeared at the bottom of my coffee The waiter being Castilian said passionately nothing and why indeed should apologies be made to me It was I who was looking in at the spider It might be years before I slipped and drowned in somebody else's cup - by Earle Birney

•New Legends: Cambodia, 1976 In my country, one legend says the stars are not souls or the eyes of gods. It is a new legend that makes stars the voices of thin women. We have many stars but you cannot hear them. They are too far away. - by Karen Connelly

•THAT THERE GIRL It's that there girl 'most all the time, Fer workin' I hain't worth a dime; An' jes' can't turn around or stir Without some foolish thought o' her. Can scarcely sleep or eat my chuck--- Dog-gone the luck! I guess I'm stuck! - by Robert V. Carr

•NOCTURNE Across the lake, a screen door Salutes the evening and slams. Someone lights the coal-oil lamps. Through the gaps, mosquitos pour. Two lovers let their canoe Drift in ever-widening curves. From their paddles drip words I would tell you if I knew. - by Richard Sanger

•MORNING Outside my bedroom window the landlord's lawnmower roars like an ocean The grass falls falls and falls like waves I lie awake and seasick in my ship - by Yvonne Trainer

•THE ART OF THE DOUBLE NEGATIVE I won't take no excuses and I won't take no for an answer he said. Then take this she said and hung up. - by Arthur Clark

•ONIONS The opacity of onions is deceiving The onion is a crystal ball that makes you cry for future sorrows. I was told this by my grandmother tired of the daily drama by the sink. - by Ricardo Sternberg

•MEDITATION ON THE NEUTRON like the rainbow trout that fought its way into our hands only to leave us the hook of its name - by Shane Rhodes

•YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING Because the light says so. Because a human being can gladly eat only so much cabbage. Because your sweaters smell. Because I love you. Or you love someone. Because someone is loved. Because the wet snow in the trees is clotted light. Because Beethoven titled the sonata. Because even sorrow has a source. For, though it cannot fly, the heart is an excellent clamberer. - from Songs For Relinquishing The Earth, by Jan Zwicky

•When Gretzky went to L.A. my whole nation trembled like hot water in a tea cup when a train goes by. - from "The Trade That Shook The Hockey World" by John B. Lee.

•LOCOMOTION Supported by my hands, Emma walks the width of the park, from kitchen to bedroom, couch to door. She's quit talking: gone are the multisyllables, the first word candidates. All she does is ababababa --- and she walks. Right now the rest of the alphabet is not important. What she cares about is getting from a to b. - Richard Harrison

•Hurricanes at home move faraway sails It is a fool who sits beneath a faucet No matter which way you turn there's always something you're not facing - Robert Priest

•there is no such thing as a prose poem. this has been proven the problem with myths is not believing their syntax. women grow beauty spots overnight and men develop the hairstyle of heroes. horses grow wings. caterpillars are most vulnerable at the exact moment of metamorphosis there used to be seeds in the alley, but they've become Medusa's hair. punctuation that longs to be invisible. they promise we'll rocognize the horns but that might mean keeping the daemons add eggnog to coffee and it's December. this has been proven - Nicole Markotic

•He aged over night when he realized Bobby Orr wasn't forever but he remained an optimist. Every Saturday night he sat in the green chair by the TV. When someone scored a goal he really liked, he said "Now, that's poetry." - Vivian Marple, verse 5 from Hockey Night

•Moon Dog the dog barks on another street two dogs bark & the one in the sky the stars all bark at the moon stop yapping & it hides in the mountains - Fred Wah

•Chances Chances are that we will grow weary in the evening's chill. Holding hands we can warm each other while infinity looms in each direction. Our noses find the scent the gods left us to follow. Lying in the grass we let the stars hypnotize us. And we hold fast until we are sure we won't clutter the sky with our flight - Robert Hilles

•Turtle Speaks I have come to pray for the elements that cannot pray - mountain air, sweetgrass, and chocolate. I gather up black moss, flutter of gray jays, wisps of steam, place it in flame and leave it burn away. - George Melnyk

•Blue Snow I measure my life in snow blue in the long low light reading for what it contains the hooded rocks, the yellow stain a creek seeping through, stems of flag grass tell you how deep the drifts until you winter in a place you haven’t lived there - Barbara Schott

•beyond the school door a butterfly free of bells slides on wind - Claire Harris

•everything is old everything is old and love grows shota-shota there is nothing i can say that hasn't been said that hasn't been said before in the garden the deck needs new paint nails protrude catch feet the apple tree trimmed in spring will still produce more fruit than we could ever use - Rajinderpal S. Pal

•We're on the road to Lake Winnipeg. The pelicans are measuring the sky for a new suit of clouds. The gophers measure the width of the road with their lives. You put your left hand on my right thigh. Floor it, you say. - Robert Kroetsch, "Excerpts from the Real World"

Text theme: 
Text of 2007-1999.
Production of poetry posters displayed in buses and subway cars, in association with literary groups and transit companies across the country

Sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts, Calgary Transit and Pattison