ASLE-Canada Newsletter
Issue 2: Spring 2006


Anne Simpson

A great sleeper
turns on the bed of the world.

snow, lipped and drifted around the spruce
where the ruffed grouse circles,
dragging a crippled foot,
little crown askew
as she pecks, pecks

a way inside that slow, flickering descent,
whirl and glimmer of
now, not yet —


Brightening the wind,
they return. Racing,
on swift horses. Warriors, chariots. Wheeling
souls. If they’re crying out

we can’t hear them.

Who rode with Sennacherib,
king of Assyria?
Who died in Jerusalem? Who

remains? The snow lays siege
around the high walls.
A dream. Such a long-forgotten weight.


The grouse retreats
into the mauve shadows. It’s dusk
and the snowflakes are pins
dropping against glass. For an instant, only,

it could be a radiant host
restlessly moving before the gates
of Jerusalem,

an entire city
suspended in air, even as it falls.

And the sleeper
sleeping on the bed of the world,
could be the guardian of history.

It doesn’t matter — it’s behind us. We’re moving forward,
into the dark, sparkling.

If once

If air were a robin’s egg as it broke open. If the tangled hayfields sloped into mist; if the leaves of the poplars assembled the many ears of sky. If a crab spider scribbled in the wild roses. If light buckled each silvery board narrowing to the beach and if the many trays of ocean could be balanced — if once, and if only, and if I could speak with the easy glide of an eagle, holding time in its round eye, I would thank you for being here, exactly here, at the edge of the rolling world.

Note on Contributor:

Anne Simpson's first book of poetry and winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the 2001 League of Canadian Poets' Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry, Light Falls Through You (2000), was followed by a first novel, Canterbury Beach (2001), which was shortlisted for the 2002 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her second poetry collection, Loop, was a finalist for the Governor-General's Award and winner of the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her new novel, Falling, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in 2007. She teaches part-time at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS.

List of Publications:


Simpson, Anne ed. An Orange from Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2003. ISBN 0-86492-345-7.


Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets. Ed. Sina Queyras. New York, NY: Persea Books, 2005. ISBN 0-89255-314-6

In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry. Ed. Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve. Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2005. ISBN 1-55192-777-2

Desire, Doom & Vice: A Canadian Collection. Ed. Nathaniel G. Moore. Stratford, ON: Wingate Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9735977-7-1

The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A selection of 2004 shortlist. Edited by Phyllis Webb. Toronto, ON: House of Anasi Press, 2004. ISBN 0-88784-699-8

Coastlines: The Poetry of Atlantic Canada. Edited by Anne Compton, Laurence Hutchman, Ross Leckie, and Robin McGrath. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2002. ISBN 0-86492-313-9

Words Out There: Women Poets in Atlantic Canada. Edited by Jeanette Lynes and Gwendolyn Davies. Lockeport, NS: Roseway Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-896496-09-1

Short Fiction

"Dreaming Snow." Atlantica: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Lesley Choyce, Editor. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2001. ISBN 0-8692-309-0. Click here for WFNS' description of this book:

"Green Knight." Home for Christmas: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Edited by Sabine Campbell. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 1999.

"Waters of Immortality." Rip-Rap: Fiction and Poetry from the Banff Centre. Edited by Edna Alford, Don McKay, Rhea Tregebov, and Rachel Wyatt. Banff, AB: Banff Centre Press, 1999. ISBN 0-920159-65-6

"The Memory Theater of Guilano Camillo." Water Studies: New Voices in Maritime Fiction. Edited by Ian Colford. East Lawrencetown, NS: Pottersfield Press, 1998. ISBN 1-895900-12-3

"Dreaming Snow." The Journey Prize Anthology 9. Selected with Nino Ricci. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1997. ISBN 0-7710-4425-9

"The Day Elvis Rose from the Dead." Fiddlehead Gold: The Fiddlehead Golden Anniversary Anthology. Edited by Sabine Campbell, Roger Ploude, and Demetres Tryphonopoulos. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 1995. ISBN 0-86492-177-2