Week 19 of Syntax Sundays: Nora Butris

Nora Butris, a second year English student attending Ryerson University, plays with perspective and enjambment in her poetic anthems. Butris is able to capture the sentiments of each of her narrators and create it into something tangible and visual for the reader’s enjoyment. There is also a certain attention to repetition and motif, especially in the last two pieces: ‘treasure’ and ‘down’ give the second poem a sense of brooding, while the last work’s ‘it is I’ captures the self-absorbed nature of children. Give them a read!   


I am at war
I hold this pen
to my heart
and rush out
to a dangerous pasture
of broken words
and sad commas
floating away
exclamation marks as grenades
and you would explode
if you did
read it all
wouldn’t you?


I should start packing
this buried treasure
and jam it down deeper
pack it down with more dirt
and place the shovel vertical
as I lay down
beside misguided dreams
and the smell of sentimentality
my spine shall feel the thump
of this treasure
calling out to be unearthed
but I will let it die
and in a few more years
I shall lay concrete for security
cemented miles under
no one shall touch this treasure
but every year it shall thump
more and more, louder and louder
and I then must let it out
and place myself to die horizontally
and let it escape
and breathe the fine air of life


tonight I will rest my tangled head
and dream of colour
and sand
it is I
so eager to cross
at the blinking
of the white L.E.D. man
it is my mother
who grabs my tiny hands in fear
it is I
who is so easily misunderstood
when I am caught
cutting off
my sister’s hair
it is I
who wants to touch touch touch
it is I
who is left in constant astonishment
at the passing of an overhead plane
at a moldy piece of bread
it is I
who wants to know so much
I want to steer, Daddy
but they cover my eyes


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