War In The Woods

Twenty five years ago nearly 11,000 people came to Clayoquot Sound to take part in the protest against the logging of Clayoquot Sound. Every day for three months, protesters blockaded the Kennedy Lake logging road. They would then be arrested, charged and released. By the middle of the year, the sheer number of people that had been arrested made it one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history. There were at least 900 arrests, including the iconic mass arrests of more than 300 people on Aug. 9, 1993.

Part of the poet laureate role is to respond to requests for poems on specific topics. This poem is in response to a request by resident Eileen Floody, who pointed out the anniversary.

(Click on the image if you can’t see the entire poem)

6 Comments for “War In The Woods”


What a wonderful poem this is, taking me back to those mornings, the most passionate of my life. I resonate with every line. We are twenty-five years deeper into climate change now, and the fires of “progress” are nipping at our heels. My favourite lines are your closing ones, “the forest breathes bright ghosts ….. cathedral spires ribboned with our shared air.” A wonderful commentary on the blockades and our present reality, Joanna. I love it!


Thank you Sherry. It’s always interesting to see what happens to a community in the time after a struggle. Would we have imagined our current lifestyle back then?

Dorothy Baert


So glad that you turned your pen to this reflection. The struggle had deep personal costs for many and it isn’t over yet. I am both pleased and disappointed in Tofino’s current economic flourishing. Disappointed that we don’t acknowledge that we garnered so much of the worlds attention through struggle and by declaring how much we cared. We ought to celebrate those who stood on the lines for their courage and resolve.
At the same time I am also encouraged as so many people who thrive in the tourism economy do make the connection that we need to care and protect the environment, and that we strive to live in peace and economic partnership with the First Nations whose traditional territories support our economic endeavours.

Jan McDougall


This poem is such a work of art, Joanna. It is so highly crafted, beyond words, images, metaphors. I am so impressed. Not only did you, as poet laureate, respond to a request for a poem, but you tenderly dissected a local historical battle and illustrated it with your careful reflection, your compassion, and your intelligence. This is wonderful!