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Published by William

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Category: Writing and Poetry

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Barren Land

Barren Land



here, we go


across this car park, where i work, 

is a narrow greenbelt,

left indigenous, left to the wild,

with a creek winding through.

i often squander my break

on the road bridge, lost in

the meandering flow and i 

sometimes watch a cluster

of carnations, apples and oranges

bobbing around the dead limbs,

abandoned pails and shopping carts.

at times, a Ganesha or a few appear, 

distorted below the water’s skin;

a flood of colour in a shallow, dark

stream, just below the city ordinance

forbidding the offering of ritual gifts. 

in other’s words: don’t pollute

our river with your beliefs.

it seems the picked fruit

and flower heads affect

the wild life; our water reserve.

seems reasonable. we drink this

re-treated sewer bilge. it sustains us.

a car pulls up. a young couple 

with their child, perhaps 4 years, 

approaches the very edge 

and the boy tosses the smallest 

of Ganesha into the wet, to

join the others on the bottom;

all their eyes staring back at us.

he is, obviously, still too young 

to read the signs.


here, we go


in the september of some year, prior 

to a trip to Venice, i was advised 

to be wary of the invisible’s hands

which creep into the pocket; the purse.

while walking the canals, deep

in a crowd, i saw sitting, quietly, 

on one of the countless stair bridges,

a young girl; dressed from neck to ankle

in the cleanest white. her bare ankles

and feet - painted white. her hands 

and arms - painted white. her face, 

her neck, her hair - all the same

clean white.  yet, she was unable 

to bleach to a mist her rooted, umbra eyes.

so she tilted her head toward the ground;

to the change pail at her feet. so hard,

so very hard, to be invisible with eyes

having generations of sorrow written

in every corner of the iris.


here, we go


years before, i can’t remember when

or where, i read a first nation’s story

(perhaps Ojibwe, Black Foot or Cree.

i can’t remember; so easy to forget

oral tradition with the tongues of

the Ancestors cut out.)

i was researching moccasins, being 

gifted a pair and wanting to know

their authenticity. i read, if i recall,

the first peoples would not give

shoes to their children. This way,

when the trickster comes to them

in their dreams, and asks them 

to follow, they could respond,

‘I cannot follow you, I have

no shoes.’

little did the ancestors expect

the tricksters would bring the shoes

with them; open a pay-less at 

misi-zaagiing,  wetaskiwin and adewa;

would bind the feet of the children 

before the eyes of the sun; would steal

their voice and their song; would leave

their bones, lost, in the hollow; scatter

their spirit in a landscape without

family; without the ancestors.


here, we go


yesterday, digging through my father’s

chest, shuffling the papers i claimed 

as he left them, i found a photograph

he’d taken in 1964, in Gaza, serving

as a united nations peace keeper. 

it’s a black and white picture, with 

shades of grey, of a crouching mother,

entire body veiled in black with

only the faintest reveal of her eyes

through the slit in the fabric. She

was holding her two young, distracted

sons from getting away from her. 

about them, in the background, 

was a full shrub of barbed wire. 

i spent some time wondering about 

her sons and how far they may 

have gone, had they the chance.

i thought about the wire; 

how some wear their barbs

as a crown and some wear them

as a home. suffer the children.

in deed, suffer the children.


here, we go


lately, i’ve been hanging out

in the dimly lit room of memory.

again, and again, i’m a twelve

year old boy about to be taken

to see the whales in point au gaul,

on a north atlantic coast line. 

i still feel the anticipation and,

equally, i feel its loss as we parked 

the late seventies thunderbird 

on the road, above the beach. 

at first look, it appeared

the night had fallen from the sky

and landed its entirety at the

water’s edge. as far as the eye

could see, hundreds and hundreds

of Pilot Whales had abandoned 

the expanse and died on our shore.

the beach was black. the water was 

black. the black seeped onto the heather.

black news vans on the road

with men replacing their heads

with large black cameras; replacing

their eyes. yet, yet, spread

through out the black were children

dressed in shorts, t-shirts and summer

dresses. shoeless and every colour 

under the sun; a de-constructed rainbow

struggling to find its shape.


here, we go


some mornings, i have a piece of pie

for breakfast. not a large piece of

pie, by any standards, though being in

a land of pie. i understand 

the dangers of pie as the first meal.

i know the sugar and lard 

suppress the benefits of the raw

fruit, but i was raised on sugar

and fat. the bindings of childhood

lessons are tough to loosen. i wonder,

while scrapping the last crumbs 

from my plate, had i had children,

would i allow them pie, as the

first meal? would i permit them

to run, shoeless, in the field, at night?

would i be comfortable 

with them singing what ever non sense

fills their minds, at the top of their lungs,

in a wireless home? would it be

acceptable, when they toss their beliefs 

into the river?


here, we go.


it’s the seventh day composing these

words and they are only words. i enjoy

the sounds of an orchestra in the background

and drink a cold glass of water

on this very hot day. i consider

music; harmony and melody. i think

of how so many ask for it, demand it,

yet. yet. i ask myself ‘is it possible?

are we music?’           

i hear a faint echo in the recesses, 

maybe ancestral voices responding, 

‘if this is our syn phoné, perhaps 

what we need is a moment, 

just a moment,

of silence’.


here, we are.


rest.



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Doc Sigerson

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Nice work.


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Byronasaurus Rex

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The line about the Ancestors with their tongues cut out was particularly haunting.


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Ciannait (Erin)

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Here we are, and what a mess we find ourselves in...


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Blackbird (Dale Winslow)

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little did the ancestors expect
the tricksters would bring the shoes
with them; open a pay-less at
misi-zaagiing, wetaskiwin and adewa;
would bind the feet of the children
before the eyes of the sun; would steal
their voice and their song; would leave
their bones, lost, in the hollow; scatter
their spirit in a landscape without
family; without the ancestors.



heartbreaking truths ...


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Steve

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Brilliant!!! What a journey!!!!


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Tell me about it..journey..sheesh...lol. thanks, dear friend.

by William; ; Report

Eliott

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Beautiful.


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Thank you friend. So, so glad to see you here.

by William; ; Report