Aerialists by Richard Outram

Encore Literary Magazine is extremely proud to have permission from the executors of the estate of the late Richard Outram to present work by one of Canada’s great poets. In the months to come, poems by Outram will be periodically featured here, thus helping to keep alive the singular voice of, in the words of Alberto Manguel, “one of the finest poets in the English language.”

Nothing, of course, from the first, but weighed against
Such parlous folly: family; friends; and the appeal,
Not lightly to be discounted, of common sense;
And last but not least, vertigo, dreadfully real.

High in tumultuous oaks, through the wind-threshed tops,
Squirrels play frenzied touch-tag at dizzying speed,
Flinging contortions, black synapse across bright gaps,
One after the other; driven, if not by our need.

With a heavy deadening shudder a helicopter
Batters above us: by instinct made much afraid
One freezes against the trunk from the vast raptor,
Like a hide nailed to bark, flattened and splayed.

Another is lounged on a bough to reveal of a rear
Foot the long, delicate sole: and I did not think
Strangely to be disturbed, to discover it, bare,
Unexpectedly intimate; a naked, vaginal pink.

O lately we leaned free from the buoyant crown
Of the poised radiant Tree and forbidden flew
One void to another and Everything did Abound
Held in our perfect error perfectly true.