Jude Goodwin, Canadian Poet

Jude Goodwin

She uses the personal to translate the universal.

With your dry lips

With your dry lips

With your dry lips

you say brain coral
and the poinciana
turns its branches under
red lobed and colonial,
you say tsunami and the party boats
shift in their ancient slips.
I can hear the sand
from the patio, in yellow
like your shirt, like the tea cake
houses behind you stacking
up the hillside, stiff white icing
dry as a banana leaf. You say
tree frog and the crows in Canada
stretch their wooden throats.
In the dark when you're gone
I whisper water and its whistle
climbs the stem of my glass.


 Wonderfully textured imagery, splendid sounds and subtle treatment makes this poem outstanding. The images operate as a microcosm within which familiar (albeit unexpected) objects like brain coral, when seen through the prism of dryness, morph into something quite different. I admire the way the language builds up, often in paired images and crisp enjambed lines- brain coral & poinciana; tsunami & party boats; sand & tea cake houses; tree frog & crow; and finally water & whistle. In their sounds and juxtaposed relatedness, the way each image contributes to a bigger picture (never explicitly spelt) is simply amazing. The rhythm in the closing line “whisper water and its whistle” brings the dryness closer. For what indeed could be more telling, than dry lips, wood throats and speech reduced to whisper? The whistle of water on the stem of glass, while alluding to the central fragility of human experience, tilts the poem into profoundness, leaves a lasting impression.

Sachi Nag, August 2006
First Place, Crescent Moon Journal

Fishing boats on the beach

Fishing boats on the beach

Curtain Call

Curtain Call