default_mobilelogo
Image for the book Singing Me Home. Poems by Carol Lipszyc.

About the Book...

Published by Inanna Publications
For sale at:
Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo Bookstores & Online, and
Brunswick Books at orders@brunswickbooks.ca

Praise for Singing Me Home

"These poems have lightning-strike imagery that journeys from 'sealed promises pried open' to 'a spiral of yearning;' from 'nomad eyes' to 'a voice foggy with memory.' Carol Lipszyc bears witness to her Jewish heritage, to nature, myth and the power of language in her striking and honest poetry. Her smoldering words 'sound the imperfect, impermanent/tenor of our lives' as we search for connections on this 'undefeated planet."

Kate Marshall Flaherty, winner of the Great Canadian Poetry prize, and the finalist for the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize and the Robert Frost Poetry Award.

About Poems...

Both "Legacy" and "Fear of Science" have been published online on The Eloquent Atheist website.
Link: http://www.eloquentatheist.com/author/clipszyc/

In Mild Praise of Fractions

Spool of odd and even numbers knot

tightly around my fingers.

Fractions like hieroglyphs

people the tethered pages

of my grade school days.


At the hub of our long-winded kitchen,

turquoise table on a checker-board

floor. Mother slices red apples on a pine wood

board: How many quarters,

she quizzes, make up one apple?


I stare blankly till the apple browns,

its juice runs dry.


“Four,” baby sister chimes,

moon on her left,

sun on her right.

“Each slice is one-quarter.”


What did I know or care of fractions?

I befriended a half-sister and brother

from a family divided;

lost one mitten out of two in a deep drift of snow;

had two canine teeth out of four

pulled to fit my small, pert mouth.


I’d grown suspicious of fractions -

their power to contract.


But Mother and Sister Linda

saw with the Eyes of Horus,

the golden God of Mathematics

who blessed all parts of the whole,


their irises, blue rings of light, radiating

equivalence.

The Myth of Cleopatra

We plunder the musty cavern

of mother's dresser drawer

for beads and baubles in jellyfish colors,

a drove of dip-dyed pearls hanging low,

for starfish broaches of glass

that prick our royal fingers.



Trailing sheets of

white and lavendar thread,

our gossamer robes,

we make the procession

of a plumaged bird, the sacred Ibis,

along the length of the bedchamber,


the low-lying Nile

of birth and betrayal.


Antony's name drifting like frankincense

over the impromptu chatter of child talk,

over the list of sister sounds

in her dynasty:

Alexandria, Lydia and Syria.


We purr on soft paws, crown

soprano Caesar's name,


and hold high the myth of Cleopatra,

like premature bearers of

ageless femininity.


Self-appointed paper queens,

how little we understood

the grip of her womanhood-

the sly soft intimations.


Her seduction,

a snake's path

to a well of pleasure.

Legacy

I learned to question God
from a story of Yom Kippur my mother once told
on broadloom steps that muffled sound,
her voice foggy with memory.

In the mourner’s month, September, 1942
as mothers broke their water
on freight trains
that snuffed the air from the living.

Jews, in the hamlet of Osmolica,
collected a multitude of good acts and sins
and piled them high as sacrament in a wood shack.

City-reared Jews, tailor-thrift Jews,
tame and hungry shtetl Jews
fasting to the letter of the law,

wrung their hands in fever prayer,
tore their hair and pummeled walls,
until their Maker could taste blood.

Save us, Gott, they cried in Yiddish,
mother tongue culled from the pure strain of their tormentors.

Reboyne Sheloylem, forgive us,
they paid homage in Hebrew.
Seal us from harm in the Book of Life.

Which language did God favor behind the gates of the Righteous?
Neither.

Whose voice did he hear?
Not one.

Except that of a child who looked on in abject terror
and in her duel with God,
stepped from the burning bush
to testify
to his seeming indifference.

Fear of Science

Gene pools interned,
mutations stamped alien.

Chromosomes perfected
along posterity’s belt.

Our species replenished
flawless, unblemished.

Long ago we offered our children -
kindling of wood, blade sharpened
under a patriarchal sun.

Fearless now, Gods of science
climb twisted ladders of DNA;
measure time on molecular clocks;
transcribe the blueprint of our genes;

embed in the womb
mother lodes of gold.

What shape will take
if diversity makes no dent
and we choose, instead,
to invent
our own waking form?

Lull

See how I build my cocoon
of bamboo and brittle leaves.

How I spin this silk-lined web
far off in the corner. You are

a witness; my heart's stone silence
bears live proof of damage. Morning

dew rises like a vapor, opaque
as a veil of fog

We walk barefoot
to the edge of a weather-worn deck,
and wait
in shared silence to sound the tuning fork
of serenity sustained across a summer lake
soft over bands of dark green onyx.

Do you sense how like a fledgling bird
I can fall in the limber space between us?

Each breath a full
in the pulse of confidences.