Moving Day

Moving Day

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About the book

  • Shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award
  • Shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Award

In Moving Day, his impressive second collection of poetry, Terence Young bookends the fantastical with a series of lingering glances into his rear-view mirror and a few knowing observations on the journey so far. His subjects are those of every day: love, marriage, children, the inevitability of change. Some poems touch on the dreamy qualities of memory, its tendency to slip into the magical, and still others turn a quirky eye onto child-rearing, education, home repair. In Young's spirited poetry, the world can be both a dear and deceptive place. His is a landscape of conjecture about what is really going on, about the kind of doubt that is at its strongest when we first wake up and our dreams are still with us. In his world, an ordinary house can rise from its foundations and float over the horizon, taking its awe-struck, astonished occupants with it.

About the author

Young, Terence

Terence Young attended Victoria High School and UVIC before receiving his MFA from UBC in 1996. Previous residences include northern Manitoba (Thompson), Quebec City and Ireland. He has taught high school for more than twenty-five years and served on the board of the Victoria School of Writing.

"When I was a boring adolescent who thought too much, attended Anglican church services and had picnics in the family car, I still believed my life was worth living. Even after a tepid romance with sex and drugs in the '60s, marrying young, having two children and falling into teaching, I am still convinced the air is sweet and the water pure."

Excerpt

"Prelude to the Afternoon"

The deer tucks her legs under, hides them,
not unlike a collapsible bridge table
collapsing. From a perch on the hill,
she looks about: moss, fir,
slim Garry oak.

Her big lids shut for seconds
at a time. Overhead a squirrel gathers
acorns as fast as children gather
quarters and dimes and fifty-cent pieces
in their dreams.

Inclining, the deer twists off
a stalk of grass, takes a bite and chews,
only the breeze, the busy squirrel and
a pair of stereophonic ravens
to pull her from her brown study.
Her mouth works fitfully, as though
the scene has provoked an idea,
prodded a memory, as though this
is a period for reflection,
an interlude:

a deer dealing with the day,
coping with these hours
that are everybody’s hours.

A roofer pausing,
sound of the last nail fading.
A strawberry picker at the end
of one row, the next one not yet
in her mind.
A surfer between waves.

To think she is taking
a break here. That she is resting
the way others consider rest — a cessation,
something other. She chooses to sit,
to stand, to bend her head,
and choice suggests a will,
even if she wills no more
than this.

 


"When You Become Young Again"

You think it will be familiar,
that you will be barefoot,
the soles of your feet near burning
on a manhole cover
as you walk to the beach,
a last bite of popsicle still clinging
to the stick.

Or that chimney smoke and snow will mix
in the bright air of a November night
next to a woodshed
where you are kissing a girl
whose touch,
even through the thick wool of her mittens,
carries the conviction of her choice.

You think you can predict the form
your journey will take,
how the past will appear to you,
a dream you will one day learn
to summon at will.

But instead you are here,
outside Bakersfield, California,
the power poles converging in front of you
along Route 99,
and the hills outside Los Angeles
rising like memories
from the hot air of a history
you have never known.

 

"Hostages"

We are the carcasses of insects, dry husks beneath the
spider’s web. We are bits of broken shell that roll

in and out with the tide. We are the coins people dig out
of the ground, then bury again in their top drawers.

We are animals who eat vitamins when our owners’
backs are turned. We are birds flying in through open

windows only to leave again, our beaks full. Because of us
light spreads to the far corners of the earth. Because of us

the lakes reflect the sky back upon itself. Because of us
the details of human commerce grow more complex.

We are children, anxious to pull out our own teeth. We
are adulterers in city parks who force others from the path

in our self-absorption. We are civil servants, survivors
of the Second World War. We wake up in the hour before

dawn as we have done every day for fifty years. We have
never been to an institute of higher learning, and the moon

between office buildings has never looked bigger. As makers
of prosthetic limbs, we reconsider the human form. In some

places we are lizards walking the streets. We are waiting
for a change in the weather, some excuse to move on to the

next thing. At the market we haggle over the price of tomatoes.
We test-drive brand new automobiles and order books through

our computers. Charities come to our houses. We give
them sacks of old clothes and promise more next week.

Under our sidewalks, the earth continues to heave. We stuff
shopping lists into our jacket pockets. They are the only diary

that accurately reflects our lives. If there were a mirror in
which we could see ourselves, it would show a portrait of

a family, vacation over, bags and suitcases already unpacked.

Reviews

The cover of Terence Young's new book of poetry, Moving Day, features a photograph of a 116-year-old converted barn, where I once attended an enjoyable party. The party,... >>

— Leah Rae Geist 64

This West Coast poet is most interesting when he verges into daydream and fantasy, and becomes imagistically venturesome. >>

The Globe & Mail

The poems in this collection both resonate with depth and reach for the stars. >>

The Danforth Review

The voice is assured, the poet confident and skilled; none of the considerable technique exceeds the grasp. Yet the writing is playful and full of delightful surprises, too. >>

Books in Canada

If in fact some of these poems take two or three readings to yield their full meaning, that is all to the good, for Young is a mature poet whose intelligence and insights one... >>

Canadian Literature

The lyric voice is the first voice of poetry, yet the hardest to define. We memorialize, confirm and reassure ourselves; we write poems that present a sometimes sideways... >>

Event, The Douglas College Review


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