A Personal Anthology, 1978 - 2014

Stephen Morrissey

​From The Trees of Unknowing, Vehicule Press, Montreal, 1978:



"there are seagulls and cats..."


there are seagulls and cats
and on the beach which is a line



of grey sand there are people standing
where the sky meets the earth



if there was a photograph
it wld show 30% earth and 70% sky



if there was a photograph

I wld place you in it

standing in front of a white house
just behind where the photograph was taken



and inside the white house
there are empty rooms and quilts



and you are saying "reason over passion"
in 40 foot high letters as I take your picture



when it is developed all we see is the white house
and think how silent it is with only



the sound of the sea
and a seagull circling over the white house



and then flying back out to sea
where it circles a fishing boat



in one room is a lobster trap
and a mantel and on the mantel



are shells that you have pickt up on your daily walks
there is one room which is filled with rocks



that you have collected with smoothness and
roundness in mind



later you took these rocks to montreal in a truck
& had a show which was documented with photographs



and these photographs now lie in a drawer
in that white house



in one window which has caught your reflection
and seems to hold onto it like a negative



there is a cat sitting and watching you walk along
the beach and I am taking your photograph



in your hand is a shell that you pickt up
and I have arranged rocks on the beach so that



they read "leave off fine book larning"
and I am taking all of these photographs



which I tack onto trees and we watch the rain and wind
wear them away and wonder abt the passing years



and some photographs I drop into the lobster trap
and you take it down to the sea and when you return



they have dissolved in the salt water
there is a quilt lying on the bed and in the quilt



there is a sleeping cat
and as I turn to photograph the house



she rises and yawns
and you have your children whom you teach to draw



and they are walking with you along the beach
I do not take any photographs of myself



but once I caught a likeness
reflected in a pool of water



it is an image I sometimes catch
among all of the images I have had of you