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Any Bright Horse

by Lisa Pasold

Travellers are often seekers, roaming the earth in search of a greater purpose. In her third book of poetry, Lisa Pasold charts the route to transcendence. Pasold is fascinated by the implications of journeying, and the ways in which internal questions roused by an external voyage leave an impression on the traveller, even to the extent of rendering strange the idea of home. “What if,” Pasold writes, “when you return, the landscape seems wrong? Your mind can’t find its bearings, its dimensions miscalculated by vertigo. Your home is not as you expected.

Throughout the collection, Pasold explores terrain both geographic and psychic: “You are in a boat, twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales. You enclose all that ocean within your mind.” A “half-blue” hue of sadness runs through the text. At Mount Fuji, the narrator opens the windows, and “It is hard to remember the world is coming away / when there are such wonders, dissolving blue / in a damp hourglass.”

The narrator meditates on the ebb and flow of motion and stillness, and the disorientation involved in returning home. Pasold precisely articulates her journeyman’s sense of estrangement and emotional rearrangement: “I will always be a stranger. I went on a voyage. When I returned no one / knew me.”

Pasold acknowledges Don McKay and Daphne Marlatt as influences; both have an affinity for nature imagery and graceful ease in poetically conveying human experience. Pasold carries on their traditions with distinction, craft, and beauty.