Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday Poem


I should not have taken offence
when that tourist called my father's farm
a nice piece of real estate;
reciting deeds or vowing loyalties
will not out-shout the salesman's slap on a good commodity.

I should be like a hawk
shouldering a westerly to his advantage,
hanging over sweet clover and tall timothy hay,
scouting the field-fattened mice––
I need the distance of high air.

Sure, my great-great-grandfather sailed in the belly
of some disease-timbered ship,
beached himself and stood shoulder-hunched
beneath wet spruce in our crow-black wood,
but that's the extent of his claim.

For that matter, what's he to his grandfather's father?
For all I know, on a Ben Bouie shore Gillean of the Battle-Axe
may have grown a gorse-yellow beard and split granite
before the morning's taking of heads--
a bloodline trailing down to the Lochuy sea.

No, I need the arcs of the hawk, not the lines of a lineage,
not a surveyor's level, nor boundary wires
criss-crossing fields like a barbed plaid;
I need the air above the yellow oats.
A wind not a root is the land's best lover.

From Wind and Root (2000) by Brent MacLaine.

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