Roger Nash

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April 25, 2017
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November 8, 2011

Roger Nash

Poet Laureate of the City of Greater Sudbury, and twice president of the League of Canadian Poets, Roger Nash is the author of 7 books.

Roger Nash was born in the blitz in London, where he was bombed out of his pram. He grew up in Egypt and Singapore, coming to Canada in 1965. He’s Poet Laureate of the City of Greater Sudbury, Professor Emeritus in the Philosophy Department of Laurentian University, and Cantor at Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue. He served a double term as President of the League of Canadian Poets, during which he worked with Senator Grafstein to create the position of Canadian Poet Laureate.


Nash has authored seven books of poetry, one of short stories, and three of philosophy, as well as editing four anthologies of poetry. His most recent book of poems is Something Blue and Flying Upwards: New and Selected Poems (Scrivener Press, Canada, 2006). His literary awards include the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry (1997), the PEN/O.Henry Prize Story Award for one of the twenty best short stories published in the whole of North America in 2009, Arc’s Confederation Poets Prize (1997, 2001), 1st place in Fiddlehead’s Poetry Contest (1994), and 1st  place in Prism international’s Poetry Contest (1986).

From Roger Nash

Nothing Ever Happens Here

"Nothing happens here, only someplace else."

The hands of the clocks are stiff with arthritis,

and hardly move. The radio coughs

with asthma, instead of the news. Neighbours

sigh and say only "Eh?" and then "Eh?"

– though in both official languages. At night,

a naked girl swims in the lake,

but clothed decorously, right up

to her chin, in a thick shimmer of moonlight

and several flying frocks of mosquitos.

Seagulls try to find wires

to settle on, but the wires won’t agree that they’re there.

There are no adulteries among the tall cabbages.

When the newspaper arrives in the driveway, it’s a reprint

of tomorrow’s. Our hen looks attentively

at absolutely nothing on the ground, then pecks it

all up, with one jerk

of her neck that’s so fast, she never

even moved. And the nude girl swims

on and on, completely unnoticed.



The paint is peeling from every wall

in town. Flakes flutter down to roost

on people's shoulders. In high winds,

they fill your pockets with multi-coloured

but devalued bank-notes; in rain,

layer your eyes with mismatched and discarded

vistas of the mountains. There are nail-clippings

under tables at the side-walk café.

Dust of the dead swirls up

behind farm-carts. Hands eddy

at the menus, and place more forgotten

orders for forgotten appetites. Fish,

laid out on their slabs, pull on new

sets of scales, even duller

than the first. Their huge eyes don't blink.

They see more of what is happening than we do.


The daily dust we eat begins

to taste like bread; the bread we eat,

to taste like soot on the roof-beams

from candles at the Festival of Lights, sifting down

into our soup. Tomorrow, we will renew things

completely: paint the rooster and his fence;

and the cow a sunshine yellow, so she will yield

bright blue milk. We are determined

to make even fish on their slabs

swivel watering eyes and blink.