Wild Hearts

The word wild drums up so many connotations for people that I almost have to define it every time I talk and mention the Institute. Having a corporate name with the world ‘wild’ might lead people to wonder, are you formalizing some sort of rebellion against convention? Are you suggesting people become more wild than civilized? Are you growing wild, as in sideways . . . all of the former do not suggest wild is really a good thing. Wild people are to be controlled in society. Wild anything sounds too free. Freemen who have left society and no longer have a social insurance number or file come to mind. But can we be free in heart, or have wild hearts?

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The term “wild lily’ may have a very specific meaning. When I adopted that term as a name, I was wondering what would eventually come to light. Eventually I realized I was referring to an Emily who went before (Emily Carr), and paved the way for women in art. I was referring to the fields of wild lilies in early British Columbia that she described. I was speaking of a spiritual freedom that grew for everyone to see in early pioneering days of this country. I have read several of Emily Carr’s books about the BC she grew up in–books she wrote later in life, when her sketching and painting was subject to more infirmity and age.

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We also hearken back to the term WILD LILY as known in communist societies as a code word that means they are rebelling against the communist culture. In China, for example a “wild lily” is a person who should be silenced. How many people, when I use this word, which I inadvertently chose as the name of an Institute, think that I am rebelling against modern culture. People occasionally think this is a communist country and they should throw me in prison. I am a woman with a voice, however; and it is distinct, unsilenced, and unconfused.

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I did write a poem in which I played with the word wild, questioning whether wild lilies in the garden is really something we would object to. In actual fact, all earth-bound lilies are considered wild. The only other lily is the “gilded lily”. One might be next criticized for gilding the lily, so to speak. Addressing royalty is something that is frowned upon; definitely one should not speak to a royal without a proper address and consent. Writing poetry might be a somewhat accepted art form for addressing society at large. No one person would say that a published work of literature is meant only for them. Even royals would admit you write for a audience.

Writing parody is a different thing entirely. If you are a political satirist, no one would bat an eyelash as you deign to insult in a fashionable manner the Prime Minister, President and all manner of important people. We have the National Post comic satirist to vouch for that. They occasionally touch on reality in a more than vaguely humorous manner. We are laughing before we know why.

Using satire and parody, to mock someone with style, is accepted as forms of postmodernism. I prefer to use pastiche and address any reader in my work formally, so as not to offend the Queen, should she be a reader. In Queen Victoria’s day, her favourite poet was Tennyson, and I’m sure he was given leeway to address her with all decorum. She received his books.

Here is the poem I wrote: Acknowledgement

I don’t cry here
the tears have turned
to salt on an old woman’s
parchment face,
she became a pillar
of beeswax,
she has an unclaimed wit,
her wick has never been burned,
her lilies in the garden grow wild.

Nobody said,
“I do,” and ate the potatoes with gravy,
no one stretched out their hand
with a band
of limitless gold.
(Binding the unexpected.)

She is an archangel now,
fluttering about the house—
her white hair flecked
and distressed
as a vintage memoir.

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