Colleen Thibaudeau’s This Elastic Moment

This Elastic Moment

Yes we are that too: we are everything who feel it.
Everything that has meaning has the same meaning as angels: these
hoverers and whirrers: occupied with us.
Men may be in the parkgrass sleeping: or be he who sits in his
shirtsleeves every blessed Sunday: rasping away at his child who
is catching some sunshine: from the sticky cloud hanging over the
Laura Secord factory: and teetering on the pales of the green
iron fence: higher up than the briary bushes.
I pass and make no sound: but the silver and whirr of my bicycle
going round: but must see them who don’t see: get their fit, man
and child: let this elastic moment stretch out in me: till that
point where they are inside and invisible.
It is not to afterward eat a candy: picket that factory: nor to
go by again and see that rickety child on the fence.
When the band of the moment breaks there will come angelic

Colleen Thibaudeau, 1977

“This Elastic Moment” is included in Colleen Thibaudeau’s The Artemesia Book (1991), available from Brick Books.

Our grateful thanks to translator Patricia Godbout, who created this French version of Colleen Thibaudeau’s poem for Ellipse magazine in 1990.

Élastique, ce moment

Oui, nous sommes aussi cela : nous sommes tout ce qui est sensible.
Tout ce qui possède un sens possède celui des anges : qui planent et qui vrombissent : veillent sur nous.
Des hommes dorment-ils dans l’herbe du parc : un homme s’assoit-il en bras de chemise tous les dimanches : parle d’une voix grinçante à son enfant qui s’amuse au soleil : perçant le nuage collant au-dessus de l’usine Laura Secord : chancelant sur les pieux de la clôture de fer peinte en vert : bien plus haut que les buissons d’églantier.
Je passe sans bruit : mais l’argent mais le vrombissement des roues de ma bicyclette : je dois voir qui ne me voit pas : prendre la mesure de l’homme et de l’enfant : laisser ce moment élastique s’étirer en moi : jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient intérieurs, invisibles.
Nul besoin d’aller ensuite manger des friandises : ni de dresser des piquets devant l’usine : ou de repasser par là  pour apercevoir l’enfant vaciller sur la clôture.
Une fois brisé l’élastique du moment, viendra le retour angélique.

(Traduit par Patricia Godbout, (1990) Ellipse. (44) 99.)

Colleen Thibaudeau at the Writing in Our Time poetry conference in 1979, Vancouver, BC
(Photo by Michael Lawlor)

Il palloncino di Colleen Thibaudeau

Thrilled to discover this Italian version of Colleen Thibaudeu’s concrete poem “Balloon”!

“Il palloncino” is part of the online children’s collection of

(The poem first appeared in Italian in 2000 for the collection Tante rime per bambini published by Mondadori.)

“Balloon” is from Thibaudeau’s 1965 book of concrete poems Lozenges: Poems in the Shapes of Things.

“Balloon” celebrated in 2012

In April 2012, a giant version of “Balloon” was displayed on a billboard near Stanley Street and Wortley Road in London, Ontario. The billboard was a joint project of Poetry LondonLondon Public Library, and Brick Books, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

April 4, 2012: As big as ball, as round as sun…

“Balloon” also appears in
The Wind Has Wings: Poems From Canada (1968, Oxford University Press) and
A Poke In The I — A Collection of Concrete Poems (2001, Candlewick Press).