Poetry by Claire Boulé

Claire Boulé is an artist from Quebec who has been inspired by the Rupert River. Her paintings and poetry were featured at an exhibition in Ottawa in March 2007.

This page features her Rupert-inspired poem "Taiga".  CLICK HERE for her paintings.



August moon

Fireweed rose spreads out now
On the slopes of my life
The yellow of the trefoil has migrated to northern latitudes

Under the crust of asphalt
The old glacier growls
Barrier of giant shale

A never ending route passes through me
Our world ends and starts afresh


August moon
Over our bare ruined branches

Astonished alone I question
One after the other
Try to abolish absence reopen the wound


I will mask the emptiness
Replant the stripped forest

Let my hand be supple
My fingers nimble

Arm extended I will hold a balance
A dance on paper
Coarse grained cracked earth

Arid plains to cover
I sketch a forest

So much emptiness
My hand loses control
All will be crude and complete


At first a simple line flowing from the lead
Narrow stream of graphite
Will run my length and breadth

Blacks will spring from the fire
For the long scorched breaches

I sketch a forest


A giant hunchback
Flashes of mica on his flayed flancs
Waves of shade in the hollows of his back
Rebounds of light

I will allow myself second chances
Return along the line to the starting point

Rounded out modulations of grey
So much vacant space
I will mask the emptiness
Glut Scrub brush


I cut across the streaks
Percussion zigzag

How to extend my reach over there
Startle and catch this moving scene

Beaver rapids cascade of the Bear
Close knit ranks of the wild fowl
Portage to Waskaganish

Hard beats soft beats
voice of the drum
voice of wandering souls

A fugitive past our tracks
Between sand and gravel

A route without end runs through me
Our world ends and starts afresh


I add the ochre from Wemindji
The red chalk of the painted mountains
Blot out

Silence barely breathing
The lavis runs

Curves remain incomplete
The sealed complaint
Of white for the bare patches

You slip away.

My stroke gets back its force

These lines
I wish free ethereal
Vertical until they quiver

Married to the ephemeral
To duration
Contours softened fragments of horizon

In the tension of the gesture
A point of view absolute a clamour subdued
Then only

Here I am bared in my turn
A slow interior drift
That uncovers what is most secret within me


This sister sorceress this forest
Worked by the chisel
In its centre the fire engraves
Ashes and smoke
Death each summer
Condemned to be shorn and tortured at the stake


This sister body smudged with signs
The water will smooth out again the disorder
The wrinkes the scars

Recompose again crisscross the paper
Between its furrows I will spring forth again


Sketches by lichens
Rose windows on rock
A strange calligraphy springs forth
I put on paper what I can not know

Ancient forces stretch the surface
Make my fingers tremble
Shudder under the bark
Mysterious gift

In the depths of the channels the whales swim
The narwhal points his tusk

Jolts of the route the cariboos leap
Creatures of another era springing from stones

Our world ends and starts afresh


August moon
Over our bare stripped love

I hear the moan of the chapped earth
Multiple mouths of clay

Muskeg rubs shoulders with
The down of seed plants
Sweet softness of cladonies caribou moss

Give back to the morose earth
Its textured colours
Keep them from the bogs

A light touch shapes the mass
Forgotten layers touch the surface
Diluted forms find again their accents


The whole forest will be evoked
All will be crude and complete.

My sister
This icon in the heart of its branches
When she speaks at last
I will fall silent


September moon

Diagonals suddenly bite through the landscape
Abrupt decomposition of the painting

Far off at the end of the road
The widening gyre of birds of prey


Upstream downstream
Rivers bled thrown head first
dams tunnels reservoir

These rivers
Their white anger gone their water deviated


Under the arch of granite
The methodic soliloquy of the turbines

In the centre of the funnels stolen waves turn
The crows caw

The tattoed sky of the north frowns

An alien horde marches across the country
Steel arms and legs
Sad parody of the forest

The northern sky crackles


September moon
Over our charred loves

The forest floor is burned to bare rock

In the far reaches of the taiga a sullen road
You fade away in the rear view
You escape by the right corner of the mirror
Meagre silhouette parting

I will not turn back


A road bares itself by the banks

A part of ourselves crumbles
In the ridges of rock
All our routes end here

Between the islands an opening
A furtive passage
Anchors my gaze

Fine long lines cut the open sea
Rain over James Bay


The whole forest will be evoked
Sister of mine

When she speaks at last
I will fall silent



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