Exploring the intersection of language, culture, and history, D.S. Stymeist’s The Bone Weir is an eclectic collection that gives voice to the dead, the obscured, and the forgotten. One of the collection’s poetic streams considers the disconcerting conjunction of human evolution and the relatively recent extinction of many ice-age species. Other poems excavate buried colonial history and revisit indigenous legend to reimagine the genesis of national landscape. At play with these concerns, the poet builds on his experiences of bush life in the Canadian North to problematize our conception of shared cultural heritage and knowledge. By turns urgent, observant, celebratory, this collection invites readers to reflect on our often troubled relationship with the natural environment, the past, art, and the erotic.
Miracinonyx, The American Cheetah
In the history of American fauna
you were built for sudden haste,
for the short burst across prairie flat
to drag down your fleeing prey:
the rocket cars on Bonneville salt
a distant echo of your swift tempo.
Crossing the plain south of Battleford
a herd of pronghorn kick up the dust
as they start over lines of barbed wire
and bound away. Despite alarm
in the pits of their eyes, nothing
alive can now chase them down.
Were they spooked by some ghost
called up from grassland bone-yard?
At Pinhole Cave, another grotto pun:
a crook-backed man with erect penis
scrimshawed haphazardly onto
the side of a thick slab of rib –
the hard bone mammalian armour,
now playfully turned to an après dine
canvas where in thin cartoonish lines
a lone dancer carouses in his mask.
Our liminal Adam, first root and seed,
and all that untimely, unimagined woe
to the woolly, hairy beasts of field.