Richard Vallance

Richard Vallance is a bilingual English-French Canadian poet and publisher. He has published two books of poetry, both in CD-ROM format and both the equivalent of hardcover books of at least 500 pages. They are Canadian Spirit Voices and The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry, aka Le Florilège de la nouvelle Pléiade. The first book is comprised of over 500 of Valance's own poems, while the second is an anthology of some 600 poems by 33 contemporary poets from eight nations, writing in English, French, German, Turkish and Japanese. Of those poems, 32 are by Vallance.

Vallance was also the editor-in-chief of two poetry quarterlies, both of which have ceased publishing: Canadian Zen Haiku, which was co-edited by Sondra Ball of the USA and Shigeki Matsumura of Japan, and Sonnetto Poesia, which had Pamela H. Murray of Canada and Carmen Ruggero of the USA as Associate Editors. He was also the editor of two poetry e-zines: Vallance Review Canada, a quarterly which continued the previously-established monthly Vallance Review, and his general poetry journal, Poetry in Emotion aka La Poésie à s'émouvoir, which was published biennially.

Hundreds of Richard Vallance's poems have been published in poetry e-zines such as Poetry Life & Times (UK), where he was first a regular monthly featured poet and then a Resident Poet; Autumn Leaves (USA); and Janus Literary Journal (Canada). Scores of his poems have been published in print poetry journals such as Canadian Zen Haiku, The Eclectic Muse, Möbius, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, Poetry Canada (Canadian Federation of Poets), and others.

May Day! May Day!

Lines written at the behest of my friend, Christopher Scott Snow

Titanic, C.Q.D. Collision: iceberg: damaged starboard side ... S.O.S.
From: "The Titanic" (1935) by E. J. Pratt (Canadian poet)

had slipped
down her lists,
slick in her ways,
Imperial Queen
a year well in advance
of her Maiden Voyage, White
Star’s Flagship, biggest in the world:
four days out to sea, and she was struck
by some black iceberg. It left her that night
down at her head, as her wireless rang above,
in her pinging masts, "May Day! May Day! C.Q.D.
S.O.S." (history’s first, sluicing!), cracked her last
telegraph, before she foundered, slaying fifteen hundred.

The Titanic was the first ship ever to send an S.O.S., which had just been mandated by the International Marine Commission to replace the former distress call, C.Q.D.  (Come, Quick, Danger!).

Amoretti II: XXVI

in honour of the original from Edmund Spenser's, Amoretti (1595)

If as fragrant, rose, why sting me with briars?
If Juniper, you're sweet, those spines sting sharp!
If Eglantine's incensed, she'll sear the nose with fires;
If firs sport knots, hear their Aeolian harp!
If my Cypress sings, ouch! -- his bark is tough;
If a chestnut's rich, you will rue its pill;
If the broom flower be sour-sweet enough,
A lily in a leek marsh gets you ill.
So every sweet and sour's strangely pungent thrill
Shall twist the tongue to crave it all the more:
If easy come means easy go at will,
The masses count all loss to little store.
So why should I account for feckless pain
If love's best measures, sweeter, never wane?

My Lore

"Stand forth! Dare rip the Temple's veil?
Stand off! Or the Penates of your Seal
shall rip your flesh fair asunder!" I reel.
Oh my Lord I hear such fearful thunder!

Peer beyond your flown funereal shroud,
glean whatever shadows there yet will trace
wild circles in the forests of your lair,
their voices thinly stencilled in the air.

The beggars of your dreams come inching in
to stamp memories flat. They mean to win
the battle; though may I yet win our war?

Whose cards reveal whose highest score?
If mine, then life's assured, if theirs, the ebb and flow
to lunacy, and both are chiselled in your lore.


Such furrows ferret at your cloven brow!
And panic splurts, arterial, one beat,
as your chest smacks against the stiff oak plough
whose axle splits in half in trodden peat.

All day life long you've ploughed on in your field
in unforgiving suns or fogs and slit
the soily veins, but they, and stones, won't yield
to mud where oxen foam and bite the bit.

Huffing, puffing, strained, lunging at that strain,
their cloven hooves are all but muffled in
the transience of half-incessant rain
leaving old crows soaked in their ruffled din.

Could you have screamed your last gasp, its alarm?
Or I foreseen the death of our poor farm?

Huskies Mush!

So now, though I'm smack dab in dead mid-stream,
where snow rolls yowling all adown me, blind,
my sled gets wedged in by me husky team,
whose hunger drives them wild with single mind.
They lunge, they'll lunge in vain. Damn! Can't break out.
My lungs could bust with frost I've just gulped in.
Nor catching breath, I'm caught, snared stiff in doubt.
In panic my dogs, all tangling, yelp chagrin;
I grit my teeth, jerk hard the sled and hear
that ice cave, "Snap!" We must break loose, I yell,
"Mush!", snap the whip ... I know we should break clear!
"We're broken out!" Them huskies run like hell.
We must break loose! God! Rapids flipped out yawn
behind us as we vanish, good as gone.

Philos sophia

(an inspiration) for my boyfriend and for the World

If, given cold pause, Mind is set to ask,
"Will we with light resistance even go
to that place tonight daylight may unmask
and lend light to?" Here Hillyer's seasons blow
and pleasantly over our meadows too --
the place we will by sight have come to know
because Aeolian lyre sings to
our R.E.M., and pianissimo.
Perhaps Creation's act may be inferred
or placed in poesie's intaglio:
one cannot tell if presence, when past's stirred,
may subtler verses on us sooner grow
or later.  Still know I know, "Your heart strives
to harmonize the seasons of our lives."


[1] "Philos sophia", so written, means: the love of wisdom, as Plato would have it. As we know, its modern derivation is "philosophy".

[2] :Aeolian lyre" is a direct reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poetico-philosophical testimonial, in his Defence of Poetry (1821), where he exults:

§7 Man is an instrument over which a series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations of an ever-changing wind over an Æolian lyre; which move it, by their motion, to ever-changing melody. §8 But there is a principle within the human being and perhaps within all sentient beings, which acts otherwise than in the lyre, and produces not melody alone, but harmony, by an internal adjustment of the sounds or motions thus excited to the impressions which excite them. §9 It is as if the lyre could accommodate its chords to the motions of that which strikes them, in a determined proportion of sound; even as the musician can accommodate his voice to the sound of the lyre.

And with our eternal thanks to Robert Silliman Hillyer (1895-1961) ...

From Sonnets and Other Lyrics (1917)

Quickly and pleasantly the seasons blow
Over the meadows of eternity,
As wave on wave the pulsings of the sea
Merge and are lost, each in the other's flow.
Time is no lover; it is only he
That is the one unconquerable foe,
He is the sudden tempest none can know,
Winged with swift winds that none may hope to flee.
Fair child of loveliness, these endless fears
Are nought to us; let us be gods of stone,
And set our images beyond the years
On some high mount where we can be alone;
And thou shalt ever be as now thou art,
And I shall watch thee with untroubled heart.