Sunday, March 15, 2020

“poem” broadside #349 : “Four poems for my fiftieth birthday” by rob mclennan


In the details, bedeviled. Am I half-way finished, or begun? Too soon,
by half. A ladybird, floats. My bare hand. Homestead,

sunsets. If I did complain. Characters in snow and shadow,

ghosts of every childhood
that blossomed: my father’s, my sister’s, mine. Familiar sounds

so simple, they amplify. Echo.


Since the beginning, when I found
my mouth, a mumble, let alone

a voice.


From almost any angle. Busted a toe, and then a second.
These inaugural fractures, after nearly five unbroken decades

of carefree indifference. Almost every day,
I stood. I stood up. Imagination, bristles. I

remember, like it was. Margins, where
I lay this ancient peak.


of a distant, faded thing.

For poems for my fiftieth birthday
by rob mclennan
on the eve of his fiftieth, March 14, 2020
above/ground press broadside #349

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Touch the Donkey ( and the newly-launched periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics ( He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

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