The Twins Of Lucky Strike

I've sung of Violet de Vere, that slinky, minky dame,
Of Gertie of the Diamond Tooth, and Touch-the-Button Nell,
And Maye Lamore,--at eighty-four I oughta blush wi' shame
That in my wild and wooly youth I knew them ladies well.
And Klondike Kit, and Gumboot Sue, and many I've forgot;
They had their faults, as I recall, the same as you and me;
But come to take them all in all, the daisy of the lot,
The glamour queen of dance-hall dames was Montreal Maree.
And yet her heart was bigger than a barn, the boys would say;


The Three Bares

Ma tried to wash her garden slacks but couldn't get 'em clean
And so she thought she'd soak 'em in a bucket o' benzine.
It worked all right. She wrung 'em out then wondered what she'd do
With all that bucket load of high explosive residue.
She knew that it was dangerous to scatter it around,
For Grandpa liked to throw his lighted matches on the ground.
Somehow she didn't dare to pour it down the kitchen sink,
And what the heck to do with it, poor Ma jest couldn't think.

Then Nature seemed to give the clue, as down the garden lot


The Thorn

I

'There is a Thorn--it looks so old,
In truth, you'd find it hard to say
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect, this aged Thorn;
No leaves it has, no prickly points;
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erect, and like a stone
With lichens is it overgrown.

II

'Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown,
With lichens to the very top,


The Testimony Of Light

Our life is a fire dampened, or a fire shut up in stone.
--Jacob Boehme, De Incarnatione Verbi

Outside everything visible and invisible a blazing maple.
Daybreak: a seam at the curve of the world. The trousered legs of the women
shimmered.
They held their arms in front of them like ghosts.

The coal bones of the house clinked in a kimono of smoke.
An attention hovered over the dream where the world had been.

For if Hiroshima in the morning, after the bomb has fallen,


The Squaw Man

The cow-moose comes to water, and the beaver's overbold,
The net is in the eddy of the stream;
The teepee stars the vivid sward with russet, red and gold,
And in the velvet gloom the fire's a-gleam.
The night is ripe with quiet, rich with incense of the pine;
From sanctuary lake I hear the loon;
The peaks are bright against the blue, and drenched with sunset wine,
And like a silver bubble is the moon.

Cloud-high I climbed but yesterday; a hundred miles around
I looked to see a rival fire a-gleam.


The Summer I Was Sixteen

The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,

danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled


The Source

The sleep that flits on baby's eyes-does anybody know from where
it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling where,
in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
glow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment. From there it
comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps-does
anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a young
pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn


The Soldier's Wife

Weary way-wanderer languid and sick at heart
Travelling painfully over the rugged road,
Wild-visag'd Wanderer! ah for thy heavy chance!

Sorely thy little one drags by thee bare-footed,
Cold is the baby that hangs at thy bending back
Meagre and livid and screaming its wretchedness.

Woe-begone mother, half anger, half agony,
As over thy shoulder thou lookest to hush the babe,
Bleakly the blinding snow beats in thy hagged face.

Thy husband will never return from the war again,


The Song of Education

III. For the Creche

Form 8277059, Sub-Section K

I remember my mother, the day that we met,
A thing I shall never entirely forget;
And I toy with the fancy that, young as I am,
I should know her again if we met in a tram.
But mother is happy in turning a crank
That increases the balance in somebody's bank;
And I feel satisfaction that mother is free
From the sinister task of attending to me.

They have brightened our room, that is spacious and cool,
With diagrams used in the Idiot School,


The Soldiers at Lauro

Young are our dead
Like babies they lie
The wombs they blest once
Not healed dry
And yet - too soon
Into each space
A cold earth falls
On colder face.
Quite still they lie
These fresh-cut reeds
Clutched in earth
Like winter seeds
But they will not bloom
When called by spring
To burst with leaf
And blossoming
They sleep on
In silent dust
As crosses rot
And helmets rust.


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