Edmonton’s Poet Laureate Mary Pinkoski pens new piece for the 24th Annual Emerald Awards


On June 4, 2015, Poet Laureate Mary Pinkoski closed the Emerald Awards with a new piece written for the event. Her beautifully-crafted piece (reprinted below) filled all with inspiration as she reflected on the outstanding achievements and contributions of the finalists and recipients recognized at the event.

There are people act as emeralds
Mary Pinkoski
Edmonton Poet Laureate (2013-2015)

American naturalist, John Muir, once said,
“When we tug at a single thing in nature,
we find it attached to the rest of the world”

We are inseparable,
An intricate system of roots
Extending into each other

We are chaos theory in action
A butterfly and a wind storm
A rippling out of responses

We are the belief that what is happening right here, right now
Will have some effect on someone else at some other place
In some other time

Everything is connected

Take for example the emerald
Rooted in rock

This green gem,
Known as a protector for those who are journeying,
A carrier of wellness
A harbinger of healing

Was once placed around the necks of mummies
in Ancient Egypt with the hopes
that the dead would receive the gift of eternal youth

These life giving emeralds,
Protecting us on journeys through the spirit world
And the physical world

Legend has that the Emperor Nero
Used to watch the fights of gladiators through a emerald
Believing in their power to soothe the eyes,
To restore vision

It’s funny, I didn’t learn of the power of emeralds
Until my 7th grade birthday,
When my nana gave me a ring in the shape of a mythical animal
With an emerald for an eye, my birthstone
The ring a talisman for being born in May
Became a strange guiding force

That has led me to this point,
Right here today,
Pulling the emerald from the earth
To see how it is attached to the rest of the world
To discover what parts of the universe it brings with it

For aren’t we all on a journey
Through this gladiator fight of a world
Desperate for protection
Pleading for the clearest of eyes
The safest of paths leading
To healing,
To wellbeing

I believe that if you tug at an emerald hard enough
If you are lucky enough to pull it from all the roughness of the rock
Place it dirt and cracks and all in your palm,
Or slide it onto your finger like a strange new ring
And hold it there

For just a moment,
And then for a lifetime

You are a part of the universe
You are connected
You are the ones who care
The ones making possible change
a new order,
a new way of thinking

You are a bridge to a path of healing
a chorus of earthly wellbeing

You are holding up emeralds
So that the rest of us might see what
A healthy restoration means
So that we might see new ways to define growth
A different way of fostering of life

Without you
The achievers
The dreamers
The award winners
And the industries that house you
And the sponsors that support you
None of this would be possible

Without your daring to pull an emerald from the earth
And hold it up as a signal
As an action
A calling to a path unto which we must all journey

Thank you for your courage and your daring

You brilliant beautiful beacons
Ridding us of the dark,
Turning a bright and creative dream into reality
You are inspiration that we cannot help but follow

Thank you for making possible the light
This world so desperately needs

Thank you for believing in connection,
In the power of action and equal and opposite reaction

Thank you for your unfailing devotion
To this vibrant cycle of celebration of life
For your belief in the ordinary becoming the extraordinary
The ability of everyone to make a difference

Thank you pulling the emerald from the earth
So that we might see its spectrum shining
Into all of us