Muskwa-Kechika Dayenu
JackPine Press / 1 April 2011

Muskwa-Kechika Dayenu Written and Illustrated by Dorothy Field Published by JackPine Press Reviewed by Kris Brandhagen $35 ISBN: 978-0-9782248-8-2 The poems in Dorothy Field’s Muskwa-Kechika Dayenu are physically about a journey in the Muskwa-Kechika mountains, and emotionally about grief. Pages of vivid poetry are stacked with imagery of prairie flora and fauna. “Dayenu” (pronounced Die-A-New) is Hebrew for ‘it would have been enough,’ a Passover song of gratitude. The first poem, “Transcribing Loon,” continues in a numbered sequence throughout the book, wherein the narrator recognizes sorrow and grief in the ‘sobbing’ of the loon. There are inteteresting colour combinations in “Before the Burn,” from an excited exploration of green to the “ravishing / red heat, blaze,” until the trees are black and the soil “charred”, suggesting destruction. The poem, however, comes full circle, describing the green of new life. “Into the Alpine” takes us on a mountain journey, suggesting that grief is “a glacial run-off”. “Past the end of trees,” into the alpine, grief is offered as a gift for the sky. The poem also suggests rebirth at the end with “I stretched my hand for willow fluff on taut bone stalks, / tough skeletons already supporting next year’s bloom”….