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The Woman at the Well

For Emily Carr

Left off the catalogue again

the Group of Seven minus

the one out there

at the edge of nowhere.

You went to Toronto to meet their god–

but found him too distant and dispassionate

so you came home to your well.

You cast your bucket deep

deep to draw its living water out.

You spread its colours on canvas after canvas

trying to transform the surfaces of things

into spirit. For you, art was spirit

speaking to spirit

speaking to spirit

but so often one of the spirits wasn’t listening.

People disappointed you in this town

but you could live nowhere else.

For you the well was here

and so you waited beside it for someone

to come

and see

more than

a crazy old lady

pushing a pram

a monkey on her shoulder

four dogs and,

ohmigod, Emily! is that a rat?

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