Poetry by Glen Sorestad

Corvid Hygiene 

Crow perches on the top bowl

    of the water fountain 

    on the back deck,

bends and drinks deeply, 

    tossing its head back,

    to hasten the flow,

then bends to drink once more,

    head again thrown back 

    to swallow deeply.

I watch through the window,

    perhaps six feet away,

as sun glints iridescence

    off glistening feathers.

As Crow drinks, oddly enough,

I see an ebony pumpjack

    bending and raising, 

    bending and raising.

Crow now, its thirst slaked,

wipes its beak back and forth

    on the upper rim 

    of the fountain bowl,

first, one side of its beak,

    then the other side, 

    repeating until satisfied.

I don’t know whether 

    I should feel amused, 

    or am I astonished?

Crow turns to the window,

    cocks its head at me 

    and those dark eyes 

seize mine for a moment.

    I’m positive Crow 

    would like to say

something to me, something 

    I’m not at all sure

    I want to hear.


Why do I keep writing these memories, 

real or imagined, of my father, 

over six decades gone now from my life?

Is there anyone left alive with reason 

to doubt whether these recollections bear 

even flimsy resemblance to the man himself?

I can only tell you that though he left me,

a young man of twenty-two, about to embark

on a wondrous life with a wife and four children,

he always remained, unseen, but a presence

I could recognize in my own admonitions

or encouragement to my family, in my fears 

and in my sadness. I have outlived his years 

by two full decades, still I know he is there, 

though it seems he stands apart from me,

his blue eyes as unflinching as I recall them

in all my childhood memories. The year is

not so distant when both of us will be

simple memories of others, who may

or may not try to capture in words what it

means to carry inside you the colour of eyes,

the manner of speaking, the tilt of a head —  

all those traits one recognizes as having been 

passed down, the gene-gifts to the child.  

St. Patrick’s Day, 2019

            remembering Paddy O’Rourke

We’ve come around again to the calendar’s greenest 

non-eco day and for the second year now, you are

not here with us. Not that this most Irish day of days 

was ever an occasion for displays of ethnic exuberance

on your part – the contrary was more often the case. 

How you avoided flaunting any shamrock, kitschy green 

ties or hats, four-leafed clovers, or above all, any mention 

of leprechauns. You derided green-dyed beer that turned, 

perfectly good lager to a kool-aid lookalike. St. Patrick

was your namesake. So how can we who are left behind 

not remember and think of you, this day above all others? 

While you were with us, we came to appreciate how firmly 

planted were those Irish roots that named your dogs, 

Feena and Erigel, that shaped your love of the arts, 

of Irish poets – Yeats, Heeney, or Durcan — or Celtic music. 

This day is one more day that you are not here with us. 

Poetry by Glen Sorestad

Glen Sorestad is a well known Canadian poet who has published over twenty books of poetry and has been translated into eight languages. He lives in Saskatoon on the plains of Saskatchewan.

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