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.
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.