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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


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