CHAPTER 3
Desire

Above Miner's Pond, geese break out of the sky's
pale shell. They speak non-stop, amazed
they've returned from the stars,
hundreds of miles to describe.

It's not that they're wild, but
their will is the same as desire.
The sky peels back under their blade.

Anne Michaels, 'Miner's Pond'1

Miner's Pond in Kingsville, Ontario, belonged to Jack Miner, who became well known in the early years of the twentieth century for attracting migrant Canada geese to stop at his home on their way south. He kept wing-clipped geese in his pond, and these decoyed hundreds of wild geese, which he was able to study and protect. In 1923 he published a book about his experiences, Jack Miner and the Birds. Anne Michaels's 'Miner's Pond', the title poem of her 1991 collection, takes the geese as its central image, using them to figure the multiple movements of desire. The geese are associated, firstly, with migration, which connects desire with place; in a migratory journey, the longing to be elsewhere is succeeded by an impulse to return home. The very precise geography of the poem maps the repeated journeys of the speaker's childhood, and she compares her family to the geese, returning over and over to the same places: 'Like

-96-

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Canadian Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Chronology xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Ethnicity, Race, Colonisation 25
  • Chapter 2 - Wilderness, Cities, Regions 61
  • Chapter 3 - Desire 96
  • Chapter 4 - Histories and Stories 133
  • Conclusion 167
  • Student Resources 177
  • Index 215
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