Not the Music

Not the music.

It is this other thing

I keep from all of them

that matters, inviolable.


I scratch in my journals,

a mouse rummaging through cupboards,

nibbling on a crust of bread, apple skins,

chewing the edges of photographs, the small

details of a life. I hoard and save,

place one thing inside another

inside the next.


Start with the prairie, then Horizon

and inside it our house,

the kitchen, the table where I sit

with my journal, and inside it

everything I write – dust, moths,

wind speaking in whispers

across the page,

the absence of rain,

forgiveness –

everything shrinking

to the smallest

thinnest letter,


Dive in
  1. What does the word inviolable mean? List 3 or more things that are inviolable to the poet. What makes them inviolable?
  2. The poem explores the “small details” in the poet’s life: crust of bread, apple skins, moths. What effect do these carefully small details have on you as the reader?
  3. Why do you think “I” is italicized by the poet? What would change for you if “I” was not italicized?
  4. The poem seems to expand and shrink. What do you make of the poet’s delve into her interior life? Do you think there is more to be said? Or, are these details enough?
  5. Practice reciting this poem surrounded by your inviolable objects. How does it feel? Is it helpful?


Writing Activity


Make an account of all your inviolable artifacts or memories, ones that symbolize the “small details” of your life. Write a poem honouring these parts of yourself. Pretend as if you are writing to Lorna Crozier.


Useful Links


  1. Canada C3 and Lorna Crozier:
  2. University of Victoria Interview, Good Company With Shelagh Rogers:
  3. Poets Caravan:
Dive In written by
Bibliographical info
"Not the Music" from THE BLUE HOUR OF THE DAY: SELECTED POEMS by Lorna Crozier, Copyright © 2007 Lorna Crozier. Reprinted by permission of McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. All rights reserved.
Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Penguin Random House Canada Limited for permission.
Start here: