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a child’s fable

a child’s fable was written at the Banff Centre during the In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency in February, 2013. It was printed on an inkjet printer and hand stitched, in an edition of 30, once I returned home.

In the bookwork I explained a bit about the process, of it coming into being, with the following text:

a child’s fable:  Wednesday night, February 13th, 2013. Searching online. Wondering if there was any new information about the sinking island in Chesapeake Bay. I found an article from The Washington Post. At the end of reading, I glanced up at a photograph I brought with me, here to Banff, slipped between other images. A photograph taken on the morning of October 25th, 2010. I looked closely, then realized that the two articles were the same. The text at least. Only the images were different and the form of delivery, shifting my experience. One inked on newsprint and one online. That night returned me to island. It moved me to work with those words (in the original article written by The Washington Post staff writer David Fahrenthold) and their order of appearance. While a child’s fable is not about the island in that article specifically, this poem came to the page from a night in those waters.

There are fourteen tellings of a child’s fable in this bookwork. I thought I’d share a couple of them here on the website.


a child’s fable

seemed to emerge from the water

cracked at the spine

a tale

of rising oceans

now threatening the islands

themselves abandoned

eroded past

protecting the failed

everything beginning

with inhabitants’ luck

rising in the bulges

created by glaciers

Now slowly


a ragged line

reassembled offshore

the place became an obsession

stumbled upon

a recalled voice

breaking memory

a ghostly outline of a girl

trying to save the island by hand

wasn’t enough

waves rolled last winter

pushed held out hope

in a near-deadly drop

a struggle


still vulnerable

standing against water

damage obvious

broken in the wind

evidence half-submerged

it hit me

a sad end of an era

just a few inches above

the waves



an obsession

stumbled upon

a ghostly outline of chance

remaining pieces

though shorter

standing out

against the obvious

the unsteady question



an isolated section

of water

of erased tide

protecting the failed

Historians say

a team traveled to luck

scientists say

some reason


has created a see-saw sinking

These two factors eroding the reading


strange spine of ocean

the last structure


*   *   *

If you are interested in reading the Fahrenthold article in The Washington Post, you can go to the following link. Although there on their website, it says the story was from Tuesday, October 26th, I read it in Monday morning’s paper on October 25th, 2010. So this date on their website must refer to the date they posted it online (or perhaps it’s simply an error that someone has overlooked).

Many thanks to The Banff Centre and their Literary Arts Program and to all those who were a part of the Interventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency.

(May 28th, 2013)

 *  *  *

I’ve started to do a second run of this bookwork and today the first copies have been printed and hand bound. This 2nd printing will also be an edition of 30 copies.

(Friday, January 24th, 2014)

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