Di Brandt

Di Brandt foto (red sweater)

Di Brandt is the multiple award-winning author and editor of more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction, creative essays and literary criticism.  Her poetry titles include questions i asked my mother; Agnes in the sky; Jerusalem, beloved; Now You Care; and Walking to Mojácar, with French and Spanish translations by Charles Leblanc and Ari Belathar.  Her bestselling and internationally celebrated first book questions i asked my mother is being re-issued nearly 30 years later with a celebratory essay by Tanis MacDonald. Brandt lives in Brandon, Manitoba.


Highbush Cranberry

She strides through the city like a queen.
Her silver wolf coat, earned in recent dark days,
Sways above her shapely ankles.
Presidents hesitate over their coffees
In their silver bank towers.
The rivers may flood their banks again in spring.
The libraries are giving away their books.
A woman sits all morning in an empty room.
She burns beeswax candles and sage.
The rainbow coloured snake in her spine unfurls
Into limitless sky.
A thousand shimmering pale pink rose petals
Re-arrange themselves geometrically
Around a purple core.
The more open her heart the less interested,
Less interesting, the newspapers,
Though who can resist, in these days of worry
And unrest, despite these many centuries
Of training and reflection, the adrenaline rush
Of fingernails and knives?
The ladies of the sky court, their coiled hair
Shining in the starry lamplight,
Dance their gracious courtly dance.
Not so down here,
Where such beauty has been lost. After beauty
Came wisdom, after wisdom
Came power, after power came kindness,
After kindness came the law,
With just a whisper of loyalty
And promise keeping left in it.
We are well on our way, ladies and gentlemen,
To brawling. What then is knowledge?
The stars flare, incandescent,
From their icy galactic distance.
Knowledge may be “the flower of doctrine,”
But it is the beginning of folly.
A fierce whistling through the dark:
We who wish to regain our ancient
Wisdom tread our dancing slippers
On polished wood, not on shavings,
We save our oohlahlahs for the berries
And the jelly, not the blossom.
We make the choice.
Gold flecked veins of light emergent
Amidst the swirl of black.

  • A new poem from Di Brandt