This Week, I Read Emilie Sion: Swan Country

Image Credit: Rafal Grzegorz via Unsplash

This week, I read Swan Country, by Emilie Sion, a Vancouver-based poet, who wrote during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. In the preface to the book, it says: “She was fascinated by the connection between the spirit and the real world and much of her poetry could perhaps be considered a shamanistic revelation of this connection, showing us something we all know, but may not be able to see clearly or articulate directly.” Sion articulates this clearly, in brief, but powerful poems. Sion’s pieces cut deep, exploring the liminal spaces of the world.

In the title poem, the speaker says, “Swans swim through their sun-feathered outlines to their own country. Who demands the way will never find it. Who looks back can never get there.”

This is a reference to Orpheus, who looked back at Eurydice on his way back to the land of the living. The piece is about the boundaries between liminal lands, and crossing the veil between worlds. If you have doubts, then you will not reach your destination. If you force answers, you will not reach your destination. Moving forward with confidence, faith, and patience is key.  

“When giant wings shake down soft feathers on your face, you are near the place. When your boundaries are as sun-fenced as a swan’s you’re there,” the speaker says. There’s a calm, warmly glowing peace to these pieces. Sion had an eye for detail, and an immense gift for evoking a quiet magic through her work. This book is stunning. I highly recommend Swan Country, which will be available now on Amazon.

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