Canadian Poetry Review

current issue
featured poet
poem of the week
lives of the poets
poetry near you
alan crawley victoria poetry award
about us
contact us

D.C. Reid

D.C. Reid’s poems have been published widely in 50 literary magazines in Canada, and just as many around the world, with his work translated into Spanish, Chinese, French, Greek, Hindi and Bengali. His sixth book of poems, You Shall Have No Other, has being made into web-based movies on – fifty-five so far. Of this cross-media-genre project, Reid says: Poems bloom easily into video because of their images. Take a look. Reid is a past president of the League of Canadian Poets. His recent awards include: the Colleen Thibaudeau award for service to Canadian poetry and poets in establishing a PK Page Trust Fund for mentoring, and a Planned Giving and Bequest Program; the national Roderick Haig-Brown Award for sustained environmental writing; and the War and Love Anthology, first prize, for ‘Sepia our high faces.' Reid has widely-divergent deep interests: poetry; novels; cutting-edge brain science and neuroplasticity; the science of artistic creativity; sport fishing – non-fiction and creative non-fiction; and, the environmental degradation caused by fish farms.


and the inhuman reach that holds so much human desire
~ Patrick Friesen

The gauzy mist of Dardanelles. A
lantern in the sway of sea through legs

that strew the only shore they will never
know. Their bodies half in and out of life.

There are times when we delicate
children lie exposed, as the keel

of a boat is stranded on the sand.
In the light, the seagulls off the point

are rhetoric we have allowed
to be our holder. The mouths we

bring forward, the blood that spatters
louder than rain, the curtain of it

in Gallipoli. The old ships, their skeletons
are wind chimes on the vigilant coast.

We lay upon our cots, the better part
of a nation. We imagine we are

with leeches, the spanning lengths
of them on our limbs.

So, with the shrapnel of our wounds we
look on indifferent to their small

explosions of blood, the trail of them
tasting of salt. Our vision has become April,

not yet learned as May and the ribbons of our
fellows lie on the phosphorus sand. June was

briefly on our shores, and with intent, its flowers
bending before the old ships, the old horizons.

See the bluing cloth in the open vats of India,
the jewel we were of our crown; our khaki legs,

the smell of flesh and the laddering of leeches.

Brideshead Revisited

In the morning they wore each other’s face
~ Ted Hughes

Sebastian and his teddy bear
with drugs and the brides unvisited.

This invalid in summer, cigarette
hanging in the air. Then the desert

where the only sight is the youngest men,
the pretty flesh of them. No one home

behind the face. Abandoned, the boy of consequence.
The religion of guilt, so what is not said

becomes the true of them, the Vatican smoke
when another has been chosen. “We are pleased,

We are,” the pope announces of Himself and His
only god. While waiting, children vanish from their

lives. Only then is the man content with his
blood seeping among what we lay upon,

down the legs of cots and pooled like gems.
The work of mops and brushes, the faceless that

drive them to the ends of vainglorious blood.
The low light of February comes through windows

and walls and blinds us in the months our bodies
are the enemy. We push our bottles on their sticks.

We are the Tunisian invalids among the shrapnel
moon. We dare to eat a peach when no enemy

can see our hands: birds against the very
small light that blinds not any Eye.

Hail Mary, Woman of God.


1. TS Eliot – Prufrock – for the peach
2. The Catholic expression is: Hail Mary, Mother of God.

The deadly art is jazz

It moves me too greatly, and I am made ill.
~ DC Reid

Sun sees only what it shines upon,
a farmyard here, among the craters

left by Turks in sight of Istanbul.
And the jazz keeps us awake.

We close our eyes into the smell of soil,
think of thought as sun. Our lack is

our children who might have been saved.
The spider in wandering through the air,

will call as siren the children not strong
as the mooring from its gut. The laser light

from ships, nursing lines reminds us
there is no more beautiful smell

than a baby’s forehead.
The deadly art is jazz.

We shall speak no more of Salonika.
We have abandoned longing, too.

Day light goes through our bones
and we are as nothing where waves

no longer reach the war. Our moves
are those of king and pawn.

In bedclothes every minute,
our days have 72 hours each

and to have abandoned ourselves
so early in dispute has left us on an edge.

We would not believe we can lose
our British flesh, but see as we move

our pieces and consider, finger-tip on each
a lengthiness and then our eyes,

after we have committed rook or queen,
turn back to the flesh of ours: ahh, so this

is the hospital. We have been
warned of its deceit. Call it siren,

call it magic thread, call it field
where young men have gone

singing nothing but our end.
Such a waste, such a waste.

Our linen night robes, our sashes,
our belled-out chests in the wind.


From These Elegies
by D.C. Reid
© 2018 D.C. Reid
Published by Ekstasis Editions