Progression of Buts
I shouldn't be saying this but — Typically the majority stand for it but — They assumed we'd go on being quiet but — They said that moral courage was at a minimum but — They thought we'd go on stunned in the grey TV glow but — They thought we were flies on the screen forever but — Even we believed we had no wings, no grandeur but — They thought our outrage was dead but — There’s supposed to be limits on how long you can push it push it push it but but but — We thought we'd lost each other but — They believed that silence was assent forever but — It looked like it was going to be World War III but — They said that faith was not a well, not a flow, not a channel but — I was telling everybody don't count on me I can't be relied upon but — They're going to tell us we're not brave but — They’re going to push the negative but — They said there was no buttress but — No resistance but — No insistence but — No victory but —
Give Us a Floor
Give us a floor we can drag a chair over And leave a mark A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like A floor you can jump on Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour And no one cares We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps Fifty stomping bikers on choppers And still be fine for yoga in the morning It is important to have a floor you can fall on A floor good for trying risky positions Tipsy calisthenics Maybe one day we’ll want to invite Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying A floor equipped to bear them all And still take a child’s lightest footfall With never the creak of any small floor complaint A floor to hold up the elephants And hippopotami A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts Held in thrall by mere matter By love by stampede We want a floor to bear seven generations Each unfolded out of the other All at once in a great hootenanny and holler A floor to bear the greatest table ever made For a feast where no one’s missing We don’t want some poor flat excuse We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry And ready to fall It’s time we had the floor Give us the floor
poem from Previously Feared Darkness
Spread the Word
Spread the word outward From the centre To the edges Spread the word like the word Was your wings And you could fly Spread the word Like wind in all directions Let the word be spread Like a lover's legs Like petals strewn upon a bed Like the breath of life On the land of the dead Spread the word Let nothing go unsaid That must be said Spread the word like breath To the drowning Like food to the unfed Spread the word like medicine To a child on a deathbed Spread it like a wild fire Of thought in some genius head Spread the word to all and one Alike Refusing it to none Like wealth like water Like thirst All over the earth Let it never go unheard Spread the word
Islam Means Surrender
There is a lot of Islam In everything Those who surrender to Jesus Are Islamic - 'Islam' means surrender If you yearn to give up your essence Into nirvana - isn't that a huge surrender? Islam! And Jews who seek to do the will of God They surrender themselves to the teachings of the Torah Very Islamic Even lovers who bow to one another's pure forms Or those who give in the needs of the moment — surrender Islam Is beautiful
Robert Priest Poet
A literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist, Robert Priest is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.
Robert Priest is the author of fourteen books of poetry. His book, Reading the Bible Backwards, rose to number two on the Toronto Globe and Mail’s poetry charts. He is a previous winner of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry award. He co-wrote the hit, Song Instead of a Kiss, for Alannah Myles, which is still played all around the world and went to number one for two weeks in Canada and six weeks in Québec. His aphorisms show up frequently in Colombo’s Canadian Quotations and The Farmer’s Almanac.
His latest book of poetry for children, The Wolf is Back received a Gold Moonbeam award in the US and his previous volume for children, Rosa Rose, was a book of honour in the Lion and the Unicorn award for poetry in the North American category at John Hopkins University. His fantasy series, Spell Crossed, was described by Open Book as a ‘Modern Classic’. He is also a singer-songwriter and children’s singer-songwriter of note with songs on Sesame Street. For two years he was the resident topical songwriter on the CBC radio program Is Anybody Home and has contributed topical songs to CBC’s Sunday Night News.
Robert Priest—Audio Video
Poetry books for purchase online
Previously Feared Darkness
Reading the Bible Backwards
Blue Pyramids: New and Selected Poems
How to Swallow a Pig
Selection of poems for reading
Robert Priest, Hand Poems
Robert Priest Retrospective in Big Bridge
Robert Priest’s Children’s Site
The Paper Sword from Dundurn Books (on Amazon)
Spell Crossed—three book bundle from Dundurn Books
The Secret Invasion of Bananas
All Contents ©2020 Robert Priest,
except where otherwise noted for recordings on YouTube.
All rights reserved