He Has Often Wondered About The Little Ones
Is he maybe at a bus stop,
Kapuskasing, or Laredo
or with a thumb out on a road
that stretches straight forever
with a line of boreal, on the Trans-Canada,
or along a dry stretch of gulch grass and Prickle Pear
on the US interstate, driving, radio cutting in and out
or the same CD looping through miles and miles?
Is he passing churches, with names like,
Holy Mother of Lost Children's Tears.
Mosques stoic in their contempt for infidels.
Synagogues with their plain lines of suffering--
the big tree houses of worship that he has shunned,
despite his appreciation of their beauty, and his
sadness for the sheer slave labour to make them be?
He passes all the houses that could be anywhere
so non-descript, so unremarkable, with
a wheelbarrow tilted full of weeds
caught in the snow, below a light at a window,
an opening to someone's woe or joy or both,
and he wanders across this landscape and
worries what to make of all this witnessing,
this sediment that drifts in the current of a river
that he's dipped his whole life's body in
while searching for something more nomadic
where there is a god, where truth is not tangled
with the cries of little ones before they go to sleep.
There is a Time for All of Us to Come to Rest
I'm putting on my socks beside the bed.
The old dog comes to rub his face against my knees,
feels my hand upon his head and ears.
He cycles back for more until the socks are on.
Something is akin, here, as he grows older in his days
to mine for this morning the junco stories come,
bathing in the shallow stream,
how they reach your eye with patient watching,
and there too something is akin.
Once in some lives there is a thumb of feathers against glass,
sudden, final, while doing other things.
I recall how one junco lay on the deck,
its body built into a mound of snow,
how its mate beside him sat
until his features disappeared.
And the other day another junco, dead
beside the sliding door and how
later in the afternoon a raven came,
and took his body into the trees.
David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, BC, on Vancouver Island. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, and in Tesseracts 18 (forthcoming). He has published five collections of poetry and is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. His next collection, After All the Scissor Work is Done, is forthcoming in the fall of 2015, published by Leaf Press.