Renée Sarojini Saklikar

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Three poems extracted from the long poem, THOT-J-BAP
           (the Heart of this Journey bears all Patterns)


Ruin, a map for the age

By water, the soul
Tsunami, seepage
Cascading, eroded

By fire, the eyes
Scorched, singed
Blasted, burned
To melt—

By earth, the body
Trembling, split
Collapsed, on knees
Tumbled and crushed.

By wind, the voice
Blown, sifting syllables
Winnowed circumference
Made square by four

    ripped, torn, worn, lost—



The Tale of the Unrepentant

Under the shadow of the cathedral
grey skies lowered, they crossed that boundary
what had once been, they feasted, brought gifts, knelt―
Police signs blinked: Thieves Will Take Everything
Red, green―those bars stayed open way later―
than just about anyone, anywhere:
relentless enemies, invincible
they fought on, bred babies, kept hope alive
well, that was the slogan printed large, hung―
library colossus, militia men
who bartered guns, knives, with women, half-smiles
shoulder glances, everyone knew to shift—
That night, snow, flakes to sting, they trudged long miles
there was that one girl, kitten, sweater-wrapped—



Snow perpetual, sun scorching, wind wrecked
your breath, our breath, watery fathoms long
who’d be left to believe eons from now
we’d rise, foam covered, running your surf. Fire!
Call us Adam, call us Eve, faces alight
arms extended east, west, fault line tremors
delicate as jelly, hot lava boils
poisoned pine, radiant gold, wash us, we
cry: sighting flames, those roiling hills, crumble―
Om you heard us say or El Dorado
singing orcas, no fog dense enough to
block out that star, our sun, deep to diving
catch the next wave, jade stones tied, wrists upturned
your breath, fresh spray, droplets, containing all—


Renée Sarojini Saklikar is Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Passionate about connecting people through poetry, as Laureate in Surrey she offers free writing consultations, teaches poetry in schools and at community events, and hosts workshops with youth and seniors to tell Surrey stories (Surrey Stories Connect: teens and seniors write Surrey, Surrey Libraries, 2016). Trained as a lawyer at the University of British Columbia, with a degree in English Literature, Renée is an award-winning poet, currently teaching creative writing for Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College. Renée’s first book, children of air india, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and her second book, with Wayde Compton, The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015) was a finalist for a 2016 City of Vancouver Book Award. Fascinated by artistic collaboration, Renée’s work has been made into opera and song cycles (air india [redacted], Turning Point Ensemble, 2015) and visual art (Chris Turnbull, see thecanadaproject on wordpress for images from Turnbull’s outdoor eco-installation featuring Renée’s poetry). Renée collects poems about bees which will appear Spring, 2018 from Nightwood Editions. Renée is also working on an epic sci-fi journey poem, THOT-J-BAP, parts of which appear in literary journals (The Capilano Review, Dusie, The Rusty Toque, Tripwire) and chapbooks (above/ground and Nous-zot presses) and most recently in a chapbook just released by Nomados Press. She recently published a long poem about her personal connection to the Air India Flight 182 bombing, in an anthology of scholarly and artistic work (Remembering Air India, the art of public mourning, University of Alberta Press, 2017).