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Poetry Canadian


Poems of Metaphor

by (author) Jeffery Donaldson

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Dec 2022
Canadian, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2022
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In Granted, Jeffery Donaldson explores 'a universe of potential relation', providing a master class in the art of metaphor by exploring in verse the complexities of identity, perception, and meaning.


About the author

Jeffery Donaldson is the author of Palilalia, a finalist for the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry, Waterglass, and Once out of Nature. He has also the co-editor of Frye and the Word:  Religious Contexts in the Writings of Northrop Frye. Donaldson teaches poetry and American literature at McMaster University. He lives on the Niagara Escarpment near Grimsby, Ontario. 

Jeffery Donaldson's profile page

Excerpt: Granted: Poems of Metaphor (by (author) Jeffery Donaldson)


After my mother and my father died,
I went the longest time not seeing them.
It was strange at first. Their not being here

was quite unlike anything I had known
up to the time. And not knowing, it felt
as though an old familiar table,

which perhaps I had taken for granted
most days when I would often place my keys
on it when I got home, had disappeared,

and without the table I'd stand with the keys,
not wanting to put them down somewhere else
where they wouldn't belong, and I might

lose them, and I would be lost where to turn,
until one day, coming home, I saw them,
right there, not as the table but the keys.


Folks are talking. What he said, what she said.
What she said he said, and the other way.
All the play has gone out of us, it seems.

Everyone is trying to get along,
mostly. I saw a couple in the park
sitting on an empty bench, hashing it out.

They'd been saying things back and forth.
He seemed the pushy one, she the sharer.
What held them apart was a difference

not solved between them, a side of each each
hoped to get across. We're unlike, he said.
To call a truce or to be adamant?

Then he reached out and took the woman's hand.
She didn't pull it back, but you could see,
for her part, it had stopped being her hand.


I could never dream, o day of my birth,
how you put your hat beside your satchel
on the beach and made a sanctuary

along the shoreline, empty in every
direction. The gesture itself was not
so much accidental, as unforeseen

in its significance. I never found
a reason for it. The hat was a hat.
The satchel the same. But somehow the two

of them together on the shore, empty
in all directions, said more than either
alone could do, more than the vacant beach,

and certainly more than you yourself,
who waded from shore before I got here,
could have told me, had you ever returned.

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