i love the north country
Civilization barely skins
its ragged stone-face surface
impervious to people
Scavenging like glittering magpies
And it doesn’t even try
to make itself gentle
for hungry tourist eyes.
When they should condescend to visit
they leave with their soft bones more brittle
And the faintest echo of fear
Bound forever to the magnetic sickle-thorn points
of the compass rose.
But we belong here,
Where water flexes taut muscles
of river tendons
Throbbing arteries of relentless feather-trails
and pick-axes washed away.
Dour pioneer faces stare
blankly from tin-type immigration cards
(what fierce eyes you have!)
Sung by farm-house copper chimes
the wind’s ringing cry of clarion-call voice
Metallic and bold.
A lament and a proclamation:
the world seems barely able to contain us
We spill over ourselves
Frantic and determined to be heard
Even as it swallows us up
With spruce teeth
into its boreal maw.
A reflection of where part of my family comes from in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan, Canada, and what it is like to return to this place after moving away fifteen years ago.