canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999


by David Solway

Addercop is intricate and strange
and given overmuch
to speed and caper on his many legs
like one bewitched with fiery tremors.
He is always busy about weaving
and spins long threads in short time
to trap the fly in his weft,
whereupon he falls first upon the head
and sucks the moisture thereof.
And sometimes he is called Spalangio,
swift in leaping and to do harm.
The mouth spits forth venom
and is fatal to the life
and in some the telson hindparts
shoot forth stings
as do archers with the sun at their backs.
He yields only to sapphire and zingite
and to coral braised in salt,
also to the brain of a capon
dipped in wine with a little cinnamon,
and yet not always.
But pounded with flies in oil
he dissolves the white pearl in the eye
and clarifies the sight.
And often he is token of divination
and of knowing what weather shall fall
by the hurry or the slowness of his weaving.
But he is best 
when ground into a paste
and raised with leaven 
and fortified with rennet 
and chancelled round with honey
into minim loaves most sweet to the palate,
for then he is sovereign against many diverse ills
such as pressing of the bladder,
ague of the lower back,
much incidence of the fart,
weariness of temper
and all the such infirmities of the poet’s craft
as I do here confirm.




TDR is produced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

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ISSN 1494-6114. 

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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions de son soutien le Conseil des Arts du Canada.