Public Consultation by Heather Finton

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November 30, 2014 by northerncardinalreview

So many ears have stopped listening
as if the words are just labels
for sorting on jars
and stacking somewhere, unnoticed.

What would you do
if the sweet spruce
and campfire smoke
mingled with crackling
told your ears something new?

What would you do
if those real soundings
deeper than words
welcomed your feet
on kinnikinnick ground
made of the same cells
you breathe?

What if your place
at the top of the earth
called a warning
and begged for cherishing?

My friend
has worked for years
listening to the caribou people
and with those who measure carefully
— she made a book
filled with wisdom,
a beautiful book I only glanced at.

My gift
is not with numbers
but I trust the ones
that add up to subtraction,
the math that says we’re losing
if we don’t change.

My own changing
has been slow and urgent both,
my song of movement
is shared by many,
not only a lament
but a deep invitation
to move the way you are meant to
in caring for what is still here.

Heather Finton is a Yukon writer whose first book Generous Living was published in 1996; she writes for local newspapers and compilations.Heather’s mid-life poetry has been supported by a capacity for crafting words throughout a lifetime of articulating possibilities in order to enliven community. Her poems use natural and household images to reflect the pathos of our shared journeys; some are found at She has enjoyed a full life including as a mother, radio journalist, Cabinet media advisor, consultant to Yukon First Nation governments and NGOs, co-founder of the Northern Cultural Expressions Society, and co-owner of Sundog Retreat, an inn near Whitehorse.


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