61 pages
ISBN 1-55071-146-6
DDC C811'.6






Reviewed by Beryl Baigent

Beryl Baigent is a poet; her published collections include Absorbing the
Dark, Hiraeth: In Search of Celtic Origins, Triptych: Virgins, Victims,
Votives, and Mystic Animals.


The front-cover illustration by Normand Cousineau depicts a dark and
ominous flying bird with a wheel-of-life image on its chest. In the
title poem, we learn that to be a yellow finch is a desirable state, as
“the birdheart [is] so compact and small, / it leaves no room for
sorrow.” Bird images reappear in poems such as “Crow, Dead crow: a
reconstruction” and “A man overwhelmed by the ascent of birds.”

The short poems that make up this first collection record images and
sensations experienced on a summer’s return trip from Toronto to the
West Coast. The poet obviously subscribes to the notion that details
feed the soul. She notices that the crow very nearly doesn’t clear the
dogwood as it escapes from a barking dog, “the sun-spill / pouring /
through the leaves, / like mead.” She tries to retain the scent of a
rose that she encounters in a Fort Vancouver garden, hoping to slow down
the transience of things that command her attention during the trip. Her
mellifluous words show us that the present moment is all that we can be
sure of, and that the journey is just as important as the destination.


Wolff, Elana., “Birdheart,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,