Bradley McIlwain is a Canadian-based writer and poet who lives and works in rural Ontario. His poems have been published in national and international print and online magazines. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from Trent University, with a major in English Literature. His first book of poems, Fracture, is now available.
Photo, “Lightning, Superstition Mountains,” by Robert Quinn via nationalgeographic.com, 2008.
river rushes north
along aged Indian
trails cupping hands
with scout guides
and ghosts of foreign
navigators once lost
among mosquito marsh
and dense brush, asking
you picked in autumn
before she turned
gold to silver and
mud brown €”the
end of hunting
and the creation of
renewed paths, when
beauty paved the road to
harshness, we gathered
dancing in deer skins, to
the sacred drum, hoping
to find the heartbeat that
Bradley McIlwain is a Canadian-based writer and poet who lives and works in rural Ontario as a freelance reporter, covering stories on local heritage, the arts, and human interest. The narratives in his poetry often stem from a desire to paint the natural world around him, and exploring its intimate connection with memory. In addition to the classics, he enjoys reading the work of M.G. Vassanji, Gregory Scofield, and Tom MacGregor. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from Trent University, with a major in English Literature. His first book of poems, Fracture, is now available. You can also find his poetry on YouTube, or by visiting his blog. Mr. McIlwain has published with WIZ previously.
I walk barefoot through the grassy
your heaven — remembering your
green thumb and long sought after
lost to daydreams or disease.
The flowers you planted I never
the names of, something exotic,
I was never good in Latin. These
the most time with, watering them
like children. I think they listened to
Your sister says I have no business
gardening — I killed her Wisteria
the year before.
To her, mine is the thumb of death —
I’ve never been invited back. Today
turns her head toward pastel, more
self-reflective, enriching shaman’s
The willow we planted still stands
a Titan among the wind, but these
will spread their youthful petals
and die their best among the breeze.
the rain will come, and I’ll be gone.
I’ll have someone to look in on the
I keep the totem in my pocket
as a harp song sung with a
steady bear paw, wedged
between your photograph
and an eagle feather. Before
we parted, you whispered it
would serve me well on rainy
days when my road was too
much to stand on. This morning
I pulled the car to the shoulder
to watch an osprey hover with
a cold sun. I look out over rock
formations carved by hundred
year old shale, hold my breath
To read more of Bradley’s poetry and his bio, go here.
along the cold
of a great painter.