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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Poem: 119 words
By Karen George

Emily Carr’s The Great Eagle, Skidegate, B.C., 1929

His spiritual conception he buried deep in the woods he was about to carve.
—Emily Carr, Growing Pains1
Everything pointed, sharp: towering 
totem cocooned in a glass sky 

shattered into a puzzle of prisms, 
the firs’ barbed crowns, 

the eagle’s beak, wing tips, staccato 
slap of flying, the shredding talons 

not visible. Cedar aged a rich bronze 
and steel-blue as if morphing into sky, 

petrifying. Large eyes deep-set, 
mouth a wide grimace. 

From his perch he scans all creation, face 
in shadow, an intense tilt to his head. 

Has he spotted prey, ready to lunge 
and stab, or does he stare in disgust 

at what the world’s become? 


The Great Eagle, Skidegate, B.C: Painting by Emily Carr
The Great Eagle, Skidegate, B.C by Emily Carr2


Publisher’s Notes:

1. Epigraph is from pages 211-12 of Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr (Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, BC; 2005). For a sampling from two chapters, see Obelisk Art History.

2. The Great Eagle, Skidegate, B.C. (watercolor on paper, 1935) by Canadian artist Emily Carr (1871-1945) resides at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in British Columbia. Enlargeable view of this painting and additional details are available at La Galerie de Uqàm (virtualmuseum.ca).

Karen George
Issue 13, May 2022

is the author of five chapbooks, and three collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Adirondack Review, The Ekphrastic Review, I-70 Review, The Indianapolis Review, Juniper, Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, Salamander, and Valparaiso Poetry Review; as well as in Slippery Elm as winner of their 2022 poetry contest.

Her poetry reviews appear in Poetry Matters.

Author’s website: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Emily Carr: Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (1932–35), poem by Karen George in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 6, January 2021)

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